MLB Oakland Athletics

5 Players Who Won’t Make Oakland Athletics’ Opening Day Roster

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5 Players Who Won't Make Oakland Athletics' Opening Day Roster

Daric Barton
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As Spring Training officially begins, the Oakland Athletics’ positional battles will take center stage at camp. The A’s don’t have a load of questions to answer this spring, but they need to build the most dynamic 25-man roster as possible. Oakland faces some uncertainty at the back end of their starting rotation. They also need to shore up their bullpen and fill out their bench.

The battle for the Athletics’ final rotation spot could include up to four players, although A.J. Griffin is projected to earn the job. The back end of Oakland’s bullpen is solid, featuring closer Jim Johnson, and setup men Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle, but the A’s still need to determine the middle innings. Oakland also owns a surplus of infielders, as eight players contend for six roster spots.

The Athletics enter the 2014 campaign as two-time defending AL West Champions. After snuffing out the league title over the past two seasons, the A’s are now the hunted. They’ll be challenged by the Texas Rangers, who look to avenge back-to-back late season collapses. The Los Angeles Angels could potentially contend, and the much-improved Seattle Mariners could become competitive.

The AL West won’t be a cake-walk for the Athletics in 2014, which makes filling out the roster with optimal talent more important than ever. The following slideshow highlights five players who won’t make the Oakland Athletics’ Opening Day roster.

John Shea is a San Francisco Giants writer for Follow him on Twitter @cutthroatpicks. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Drew Pomeranz (LHP)

Drew Pomeranz
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Pomeranz hasn’t flourished since making his big league debut in 2011. The former fifth overall pick in the first-year player draft has mostly struggled in 34 career games, posting a 4-14 record with a 5.20 ERA in 136.2 innings pitched. He’s in the mix for the fifth spot in the Athletics’ rotation, but simply doesn’t measure up compared to the type of pitching talent Oakland possesses. Pomeranz recorded an astronomical 2.031 WHIP last season, leading to his oust from the Colorado Rockies.

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4. Fernando Rodriguez (RHP)

Fernando Rodriguez
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s simply don’t have a bullpen spot for Rodriguez, who chewed up a ton of innings for the lowly Houston Astros last season, but failed to demonstrate the consistency needed to be deemed a dependable middle innings reliever. Rodriguez owns a 4.89 ERA in 123.1 career innings pitched. He has some upside, as his fastball ranges from 93 to 95 mph, but he’s bound to begin the season at triple-A Sacramento.

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3. Nick Punto (IF)

Nick Punto
Kirby Lee-US Presswire

Punto is part of the Athletics’ crowded infield. The 36-year-old veteran would ideally supply the A’s with a veteran presence in the clubhouse and versatility on the field. But Punto is a career .248 hitter. His on-base percentage is also suspect (.325), and he doesn’t have much pop. His career fielding percentage is solid (.978), but he doesn’t supply much upside for the A’s. It’s possible that Punto and Alberto Callaspo end up battling for Oakland’s final infield spot. Callaspo might not be as efficient as Punto on defense, but he’s a .273 career hitter who can play multiple positions.

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2. Josh Lindblom (RHP)

Josh Lindblom
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Lindblom isn’t a clear-cut starting-caliber pitcher, despite supposedly being in the mix for the Athletics’ final rotation spot. Lindblom has started just five games in his three-year career, all of which occurred last season. He owns a 3.82 career ERA in 109 games, but struggled as a starter in 2013, when he posted a 1-3 mark with a 5.46 ERA with the Rangers. The A’s possess better starting pitching options than Lindblom, who doesn’t exactly light up the radar gun, either.

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1. Daric Barton (1B)

Darci Barton
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Barton hasn’t developed into the type of player the A’s thought he would be when he made his big league debut in 2007. Now, it’s likely that 2014 will mark his final camp with Oakland. Brandon Moss is the hands-down starting first baseman for the Athletics, barring injury. Nate Freiman also boasts intrigue. At 27-years old, Freiman is at a point where he needs to be given a long look as a potential everyday player. He posted a respectable .716 OPS with 13 extra-base hits and 24 RBI in 190 official at-bats in 2013. Barton owns a career .250 batting average with 30 home runs and 179 RBI. He played in just 37 games last season.