As Athletics Finalize 60-Man Roster, Recent Draftees May Be Part of the Mix

John Hickey

When the Oakland Athletics finally gather at the Coliseum next weekend, they figure to have only about two-thirds of the players allotted to them on hand.

Major League Baseball is coming back, and the deal between the owners and the players calls for a roster of up to 60 players. General manager David Forst said Wednesday he expected to have only about 42 players on hand as Oakland baseball starts back up.

The A’s will eventually get to the full 60, but those select 42 are the only ones expected to be in the competition for one of the 30 roster spots to start the season. The 30-man roster will last for 15 days, then drop to 28. Two weeks after that, the roster will be down to 26, which was the number expected to be in play this season before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Even while the A’s will wait to physically add the other 18 or so to what Forst is calling the “player pool,” the club has to make a decision on just who those players will be soon. A finalized list of the 60 must be submitted to the MLB offices by Sunday.

And there may be some new faces in that group.

Originally, when it the plan was calling for a 50-man pool, the A’s weren’t going to bring any of their recent draftees or non-drafted signees aboard. Even now they may not, but the expansion of available slots in the pool by 10 has the A’s front office at least considering it.

“We haven’t finalized that group yet,” Forst said Thursday afternoon via text. “(There are) lots of variables being considered.”

To this point, the A’s have announced the signing of three drafted players, right-handed pitcher Jeff Criswell from Michigan, outfielder Michael Guldberg from Georgia Tech and right-handed pitcher Dane Acker from Oklahoma, the second, third and fourth picks.

They would seem to be the likeliest to make the cut, although if the club can sign first-round choice Tyler Soderstrom, a high school catcher out of Turlock High, rather than see him take a scholarship to UCLA, they might want to bring him in just to get a first whiff of the professional experience.

Meanwhile, the chosen 42 will assemble either on July 3 or July 4. The date is flexible both in terms of making sure the Coliseum is up to health and safety codes in a time of pandemic and making sure that all players, coaches, staff and other workers get tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“We do have a working list,” Forst said. “We’re expecting somewhere between 40-42 players for spring training, and the rest will report to are alternate site, whenever that is.”

Although nothing has been finalized, the A's player pool is expected to be based at the A's California League home in Stockton. That's 70 miles due east of Oakland; the MLB has mandated the auxilliary player group must be within 150 miles of the big-league ballpark.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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