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A’s add Chris Carter to 40-man roster — where does he fit best?

As you all know, the battle at first base will be one of the more interesting storylines for the A’s come spring training. Clearly, they need more pop at the plate from whoever’s playing first. The A’s have a logjam of youngsters at the position, but things would be less crowded if stud hitting prospect Chris Carter could play the outfield adequately. Check out this interview at Minor League Ball, where GM Billy Beane addresses that very topic. He says the ideal scenario would have Carter playing the outfield once he’s brought up to the majors. A couple different A’s officials have told me for some time now that Carter has the tools to be a decent left fielder.   And honestly, would he have to be that great? The A’s have shown they’re willing to use a defensive question mark in the outfield if it means getting a needed bat in the lineup.

Carter, by the way, was added to the A’s 40-man roster Friday, along with pitchers Fautino De Los Santos, Pedro Figueroa and Justin Souza.

But here’s a couple issues to consider: How soon will Carter be ready for the majors? Will one of the other first base candidates – Daric Barton, Sean Doolittle, Tommy Everidge, etc. – hit well enough to allow Carter to play somewhere else? Doolittle missed most of the 2009 season recovering from a tear in his left patella tendon, which he tried to rehab without surgery. He encountered road blocks in his recovery, and scout.com reported that Doolittle recently underwent knee surgery to fix the tear. It’s unknown whether he’ll be ready for the start of spring training.

Let’s remember that Scott Hairston’s status also will affect Carter, if Carter is indeed considered for left field. I honestly don’t have a read on how the A’s feel about Hairston at this point. They gave up three pitchers to get him from San Diego in July, and used him as the regular left fielder when he was healthy. Now Hairston is arbitration-eligible. I see the A’s tendering him a contract, but he got a rather lukewarm endorsement from Beane at the end of the season.

How do you see Carter fitting into the A’s puzzle???

Joe Stiglich

  • crescent

    It would be stunning if Billy didn’t give Hairston the starting LF job to start the season. He of all people would know that a guy switching leagues should not have a half year of stats considered for such an important decision.

  • Bee Hylinski

    I think it all depends upon whether Carter can succeed at left field in spring training. If he can, then he has a shot at the left field position. If he can’t and Hairston’s bat tears up spring training, then Carter will go back to Sacramento, unless Barton, Doolittle and Everidge fizzle at 1st base in the spring. Then Carter would have a home there. He’ll find a place on the roster as long as he continues to hit the way he has at Sacramento.

  • Nodaclu

    If today’s report in the NY Daily News is true:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/mets/2009/11/mets-marlins-in-san-juan-may-b.html

    …then it definitely opens up a corner spot in the outfield (or at least allows for a more open competition).

    In my mind, he can’t possibly be any worse out there than Cust was, and the A’s didn’t seem to have a problem running Jack out there on a regular basis.

    Being a younger, more athletic guy, I would imagine Carter could make himself into at least an average defender, which if he hits is all anyone would ever ask of him.

    I don’t think the A’s see Everidge as a legit prospect, and his future opportunities are going to be limited. I think the 1B job is Barton’s – regardless of ST numbers, simply because Doolittle knee slowed his progress.

    When Doolittle is ready, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Barton moved to the outfield, Doolittle at 1B and Hairston moved. To me Hairston doesn’t possess the kind of skill set you would expect to see a championship contender to have in a corner outfield spot.

    Yes, I know this club is nowhere near being a championship contender, but the pieces are there, and this is going to be very, very good team by late next season. If they can play .500 ball through the ASB, we could have our first meaningful Aug/Sept games since 2006.

    To me, the ’10 club is going to look a lot like the ’99 club – a good but not great team, that’s right on the brink of something special.