Athletics

A's 2013 roster breakdown: First base

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A's 2013 roster breakdown: First base

Editor's note: This is the fifth installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.It took them quite a while, but the A's have finally found that slugging first baseman they have so desperately needed. Only it's two guys that ended up combining to have one monster season. Brandon Moss and Chris Carter became the first base platoon in late June and A's manager Bob Melvin rode the hot hand and the splits to a solve the club's seemingly eternal issue at first base. Moss and Carter combined to hit 27 home runs at first base in 110 games. Together they totaled 66 RBIs while manning first. If you add in the stats from when they played DH or the outfield, they combined to hit 37 dingers and drive in 91 runs. That's more home runs than Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Mark Trumbo or Paul Konerko hit. Imagine what they could both do in a full season. The MossCarter platoon allows the A's to use the hot hand. If one gets hot, he starts daily until he cools off. Meanwhile, the other guy is used as a powerful pinch hitter. The platoon lets Melvin play to their strengths. When combined, Moss and Carter become a potent force. The only thing the two sluggers don't do well is play defense. Moss made eight errors at first base and Carter committed six fielding mistakes. If the A's can find a way to roster a capable glove to take over in the late innings they could create a juggernaut Franken-first-baseman. Daric Barton could be that guy, but the A's likely won't have room to put him on the 25-man roster just to fill in defensively. Barton will have to prove he can do a lot more than just play defense to earn a roster spot.
RELATED: A's re-up with Barton
Here in 2013:Brandon Moss
Chris Carter
Daric Barton
Free Agents:NoneBiggest Question:Can a full year of Melvin's MossCarter platoon take the A's to the next level? Analyst's Take -- Shooty Babitt:"I still think they will want to upgrade there defensively. Both of them will be putting an extreme amount of work in during spring training to become better defensively. I still believe Chris Carter is a DH. He'll make a good play but then he'll have difficulty on a routine play that can cost you the game. In Oakland, as long as that foul territory is as big as it is, you need to have a guy that can knock down a ball."Best Available (and possibly affordable)Lance Berkman, 36
Carlos Pena, 35
James Loney, 29
Jason Giambi, 42
Casey Kotchman, 30
Adam LaRoche, 33
Eric Hinske, 35
Carlos Lee, 37
Casey McGehee, 30
Aubrey Huff, 36

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

Instant Analysis: Casilla blows it in ninth, denies Melvin of 1,000th win

BOX SCORE

With two swings, the Blue Jays delivered an absolute gut-punch to the A’s on Wednesday night.

Justin Smoak hit a two-run game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla in the ninth. On the next pitch, Kendrys Morales swatted a walk-off shot to give Toronto a stunning 3-2 victory at the Rogers Center.

That once again denied A’s manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career victory, which the A’s seemed poised to celebrate. Rookie Paul Blackburn also had a much-deserved victory snatched away from him after he threw seven scoreless innings.

Oakland has dropped three straight north of the border since giving Melvin career win No. 999. A lack of offense doomed them in the first two games of this four-game series, and they got precious little scoring Wedesnday. But Marcus Semien’s two-run homer in the fifth seemed to be all the offense they would need, and the A’s took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

Blake Treinen handled the eighth to get the ball to Casilla, who’s had a turbulent ride as the A’s closer after signing a two-year deal to return to Oakland in the offseason. Wednesday’s meltdown accounted for his sixth blown save. He entered the night tied for third for most blown saves in the American League.

The A’s are short on late-inning options after recently trading Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.

Former A's starter designated for assignment by Cubs

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AP

Former A's starter designated for assignment by Cubs

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs have cut left-hander Brett Anderson.

The 29-year-old Anderson had been sidelined by a lower back strain. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list before Wednesday night’s game against the White Sox and then designated for assignment.

Anderson signed a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Cubs over the winter. He went 2-2 with an 8.18 ERA in six starts.

Anderson, who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, is 40-45 with a 3.99 ERA in 133 games with the Athletics, Rockies, Dodgers and Cubs.