Just when it appears things might go quiet on the A’s front, they’re linked to another player. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports Oakland and free agent outfielder Gabe Gross are talking seriously about a one-year deal. The left-handed hitting Gross, 30, supposedly would be an option off the bench against right-handed pitchers.
This speculation has me scratching my head much as the Johnny Damon talk does. I’m not sure the A’s have a need for another outfielder, particularly if they’re serious about keeping opportunities open for a young guy like Michael Taylor. Gross hit .227 with six homers and 36 RBI in 282 at-bats last year for Tampa Bay. He started 67 games in right field.
GM Billy Beane said earlier this week that a utility infielder was the next need the team might address. He also praised his current crop of outfielders, particularly right fielder Ryan Sweeney. But I’ve learned not to count anything out this winter w/this team …
I was rummaging through my notes from last week’s A’s media event, and wanted to share some thoughts from Bob Geren about his possible batting order. Geren was asked how he would handle the 1-2 spots, with Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis being the prime candidates at the top of the lineup. His take:
“You can do that a couple different ways. You can go Raj-Coco or Coco-Raj. It might depend on who I bat third and fourth. If you have Suzuki batting third, a right-handed hitter, maybe you go Raj first and Coco second. And then Cust could bat fourth, a lefty. I kind of like to (alternate lefties and righties) if it makes sense, so it’s more difficult for the opposition to match up in the bullpen.”
I know … You were hoping that by now, the A’s might have obtained a better fit for the No. 3 hole than Suzuki, right? Perhaps that’s why we’re hearing the Johnny Damon reports. Anyway, Rajai-Coco (or vice versa) is a natural combo in the 1-2 spots. But I could also see a scenario where Suzuki or Ryan Sweeney could bat second and Davis or Crisp could drop down to the ninth spot. Nothing wrong with lighting a fuse at the bottom of the order.
Here’s my stab at a full lineup if the A’s took their current roster into Opening Night. This is assuming that Eric Chavez is coming off the bench, as the A’s plan, and Chris Carter and Michael Taylor are starting the season at Triple-A:
1. Davis LF
2. Crisp CF
3. Suzuki C
4. Cust DH
5. Kouzmanoff 3B
6. Sweeney RF
7. Ellis 2B
8. Barton 1B
9. Pennington SS
**I didn’t purposely try to go right-left all the way down, just worked out that way …
Let’s hear some thoughts on the A’s options …