Let’s go up to 35,000 feet for a moment and see where things stand with the 25-man roster.
We’ll assume that they’ll go, as they have for many years now, with 12 pitchers.
So here’s the landscape for the 13 position players, with the “running total” in parentheses. Non-roster invitees are in green and speculative additions are in red:
|Catcher||Mike Zunino (1)||John Buck (2)|
|First Base||Justin Smoak (3)||Corey Hart (4)||Logan Morrison (5)|
|Second Base||Robinson Cano (6)||Nick Franklin (7)||Willie Bloomquist (8)|
|Shortstop||Brad Miller (9)||Nick Franklin||Willie Bloomquist|
|Third Base||Kyle Seager (10)||Nick Franklin||Willie Bloomquist|
|Outfield||Michael Saunders (11)||Corey Hart|
|Dustin Ackley (12)||Franklin Gutierrez (13)||Abraham Almonte?|
|Logan Morrison||Endy Chavez|
|DH||Corey Hart||Logan Morrison|
So there are already 13 guys who are presumptively on the roster, and it’s fair to say that they expect to stash Endy Chavez at AAA as insurance. Even without Endy, there’s no room for Abe Almonte if Ackley, Franklin and Bloomquist are all on the team.
The only position player they still seem to be linked to is Cruz. Clearly, his bat is a better roster fit then anything else. He’d most likely squeeze Franklin or Ackley off the roster and set up a complex 1b-DH-RF rotation with Hart and Morrison. Still, they’d make room for him if they got him at a reasonable price.
The pitching landscape is a lot more wide-open:
|Starters||Felix Hernandez (14)|
|Hasashi Iwakuma (15)|
|?? (16)||Ubaldo Jimenez|
|Taijuan Walker (17)|
|James Paxton (18)|
|Closer||Danny Farquhar (19)|
|RH Bullpen||Tom Wilhelmsen (20)|
|?? (21)||Stephen Pryor (injured)|
|?? (22)||Yoervis Medina|
|?? (23)||Hector Noesi|
|LH Bullpen||Charlie Furbush (24)|
|?? (25)||Lucas Luetge|
All reports have indicated that Baker is the best bet for the “Veteran No. 3 Starter” role, though they may be waiting to see if the prices come down on the other guys. That probably means that e-RAM and Maurer get held in reserve.
And the bullpen is a free-for-all at the moment. Ayala seems to be the only outside guy they’ve been linked to. Pryor was once considered possible for Opening Day, but the latest reports indicate he’ll probably miss a month or two.
So it’s looking like a whole-buncha-spaghetti-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks in that area. There’s no shortage of candidates, but lots of shortage of certainty.