2013 A's roster breakdown: Catchers

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2013 A's roster breakdown: Catchers

Editor's note: This is the second installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.The A's will enter 2013 without a veteran option at catcher. They don't seem too concerned by that fact. Derek Norris and George Kottaras are set to take the reigns in Oakland next season."We're comfortable with both of those guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Absolutely."Norris seems to be the logical choice to be the starting catcher for the A's next season. He was recalled on Aug. 21, and ended up taking over a bulk of the catching duty from veteran leader Kurt Suzuki. At one point in July the A's won 13 consecutive games started by Norris. He played well enough that Oakland felt comfortable trading Suzuki to the Washington Nationals. After Suzuki was traded there was a lot of concern about what would happen to the A's pitching staff. Norris proved he could handle the A's talented young pitchers.
It isn't a perfect statistic, but with Norris behind the plate, A's pitchers had a 3.08 ERA -- the lowest for a catcher in the American League with 50 or more innings caught. Despite the staff's confidence in him, Norris was only able to throw out 26 percent of would-be base stealers, which was third worst in the league. He will have to work hard in the offseason to improve that percentage.Norris, 23, only hit .201 in 2012, but he hit .339 with runners in scoring position, and four of his seven home runs came with a runner on. Kottaras also came through in big situations for the A's. He hit .293 with six of his nine homers coming with runners on base, and hit .368 with runners in scoring position. Norris is a right-handed hitter and Kottaras bats left-handed. That gives Melvin the opportunity to platoon the two catchers.Here in 2013:Derek Norris
George Kottaras
On the Farm:Jason Jaramillo
Blake Lalli
Max Stassi
Free Agents:NoneBiggest Question:Can Norris and Kottaras improve defensively?Analyst's Take -- Greg Cadaret:"I think Norris has the tools to be a good major league catcher. I think Kottaras is a major league backup. If you are splitting them 5050 I think you are weak there. Norris will improve once he gets the pressure off and stops trying to hit too many home runs. He has a tendency to let the frontside fly open and try and hook everything."I think he'll throw alright. I think he tried to be too fast sometimes. He showed the capability to block a ball, good hands, and the ability to call a game. A couple times he got lazy blocking balls and let a couple get away from him, but he looked like a guy that has some pop. He'll be a good major league catcher once he understands he doesn't have to try to do too much."Best Available (and possibly affordable):Mike Napoli, 31 (Not likely affordable)
Russell Martin, 30
A.J. Pierzynski, 36

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

A new team believes in Stephen Vogt.

The former A's catcher, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

The A's announced the transaction shortly before their game against the White Sox.

News of the Brewers making the waiver claim was first reported by ESPN.

The Brewers were the only team to place a waiver claim on Vogt, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Vogt, a clubhouse leader and one of the longest tenured A's, hit just .217 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games this season.