Inbox: Is Oakland's roster set for Spring Training?
Beat reporter Jane Lee fields A's fans' questions
Are the A's finally done making moves, or does general manager Billy Beane have one more up his sleeve before Spring Training?
-- Kurtis L., Springville, Utah
The A's are seemingly never done. Even in an offseason that's already resulted in nine trades and more than a dozen new roster additions, there could still be something brewing. The A's were reportedly among the four largest contingents at Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera's showcase in the Dominican Republic last week -- the others being the Giants, Padres and Braves -- and are believed to be in serious play for him.
Should the A's shell out the dollars necessary to win over the 29-year-old Olivera, he would presumably become the everyday second baseman, with Ben Zobrist moving to left field and doubling as the backup infielder. This would affect several other players as well, namely Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry and Eric Sogard, potentially furthering an ongoing roster shakeup. Stay tuned.
Any update on if the A's will have new scoreboards this year?
-- Mike S., Alameda, Calif.
According to David Rinetti, the A's vice president of stadium operations, the process for implementing the new HD video boards began Dec. 22, the day after the Raiders' final home game, and is on track to be completed by the time gates open for an April 4 exhibition game against the Giants. Along with new scoreboards, new ribbon boards will also be on display by this time.
The new scoreboards will each measure approximately 36 feet tall and 145 feet wide.
The A's have a surplus of young, controllable starting pitchers. Can you see them moving any of them? If they do, what position can you see them needing an upgrade?
-- Alex G., Pasadena, Calif.
Such a surplus is always a good thing and doesn't necessarily foreshadow an impending move. Beyond Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, the A's rotation has three open spots for at least seven candidates -- one or two of which could end up in the bullpen. That paves the way for plenty depth -- quality depth, at that -- at Triple-A, a luxury that often turns into a necessity during the season.
Who do you see filling Nick Punto's spot as backup infielder this year?
-- Drake S., Sacramento, Calif.
As I mentioned above, a certain scenario could have Zobrist in this spot when he's not in left field. But, as the roster is now, with Zobrist penciled in at second base and Marcus Semien at shortstop, Sogard is the leading backup infield candidate, followed by Andy Parrino and Tyler Ladendorf.
Do the A's view Jesse Chavez as a starting pitcher or long reliever going into this season?
-- Matt C., San Mateo, Calif.
They view him as an option to fill either role out of Spring Training, so he's expected to at least be stretched out as a starter during camp to prepare for both.
What is a realistic outlook on how many games the A's will win this season?
-- Estevan C., Esparto, Calif.
Today, I'll go with 85. Ask me again tomorrow.