A's Roster Breakdown
Rotation: RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Bartolo Colon, LHP Dallas Braden, RHP Graham Godfrey, LHP Tom Milone and RHP Jarrod Parker, RHP Brad Peacock or RHP Tyson Ross
McCarthy and newcomer Colon are the only healthy starters locked in, so the rotation is a huge question mark entering camp. Braden might not be available at the start of the season. Several young pitchers will battle for the remaining spots. Parker, obtained from Arizona in the Trevor Cahill trade, is the A's consensus top prospect.
Bullpen: RHP Grant Balfour, LHP Jerry Blevins, RHP Joey Devine, RHP Fautino De Los Santos, LHP Brian Fuentes, RHP Ryan Cook and RHP Andrew Carignan, LHP Jordan Norberto or RHP Neil Wagner
There is a decent core here, but with Andrew Bailey being traded to Boston, it's anyone's guess who takes over as closer. The hard-throwing De Los Santos has ninth-inning stuff, but he is inexperienced. The A's are trying to acquire another reliever.
Catchers: Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell, Josh Donaldson or Anthony Recker
Suzuki has a lot of new pitchers to get familiar with, but the real issue is whether he hits better after two straight disappointing offensive seasons. He packed on 10 pounds over the winter with the hope it will give him more endurance. Donaldson or Recker might overtake Powell for the backup job.
Infielders: 1B Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, Chris Carter or Kila Ka'aihue; 2B Jemile Weeks, SS Cliff Pennington, 3B Scott Sizemore, Adam Rosales
Weeks and Pennington will continue to jell as a double-play combo, but they were culprits in the A.L.-high 124 errors Oakland committed last season. And the perennial question remains: Will the A's get adequate power from their corner men? That depends largely on who wins the first-base job, which is a wide-open battle.
Outfielders: LF Coco Crisp, CF Yoenis Cespedes, RF Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes and Collin Cowgill or Michael Taylor
Cespedes, whose signing should be completed in a week or two, gives the A's a middle-of-the-order threat with Josh Willingham gone. If Cespedes plays center, Crisp figures to move to left and Smith might wind up in a designated hitter platoon with Gomes. Taylor or Cowgill will have to turn heads to bump someone out of a roster spot.
Designated hitter: Smith, Gomes, Carter and Ka'aihue are candidates.
-- JOE STIGLICH