SEATTLE The focus for the A's since they locked up the American League West championship berth in the playoffs has been on who they'll be facing in the A.L. Division Series that starts in a week and whether they can lock down home-field advantage.
There is, however, another issue for the A's brain trust the makeup of the roster.
Knowing who the opponent is will be crucial because the A's are a team that believes in matchups and the matchups are different from opponent to opponent.
To be sure, most of the Oakland roster is locked in:
Outfielders (5): Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Chris Young.
Infielders (6): Daric Barton, Alberto Callaspo, Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Eric Sogard.
Catchers (2): Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt.
Starting pitchers (3): Bartolo Colon, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin.
Relief pitchers (6): Brett Anderson Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Dan Otero.
Those are the first 22 roster spots. Here's where some questions lie to fill out the last three:
First baseman Nate Freiman The rookie has spent most of the year as the starter at first against left-handed pitching and has turned in good numbers, including a .306 average with four homers and 22 RBIs in 147 at-bats. If the opponent is Detroit, which is expected to start nothing but right-handed pitchers in the playoffs, the A's will likely want to load up with left-handed hitters. Freiman has spent two weeks sidelined by abdominal pain but is feeling better and could get a start this weekend against the Seattle Mariners.
The question here is whether he'll be able to step into his role or whether the A's need to look elsewhere.
Catcher John Jaso His inclusion is a long shot considering he has not played since July 24 because of issues with concussions. But he's getting playing time with A's players in the Arizona instructional league this week. It's likely the A's will at least take a look at the left-hander during workouts between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs if Detroit is the opponent.
If Tampa Bay is the opponent, on the other hand, with David Price and Matt Moore two of the best left-handed starters around, the A's will likely favor right-handed hitters against the Rays.
Starter/reliever Tommy Milone If the A's were to face Cleveland, which has three switch-hitting regulars and five left-handed regulars, he'd be much more likely to make the roster, giving the A's that much more depth from the left side. He was in the rotation to start the season, is in the bullpen now, and his status is up in the air.
Starter Sonny Gray Of all the players singled out on this list, he has the best chance of being on the roster. Some would say he's already there but that his role hasn't been defined. He has been starting, but if the team goes with Griffin and Dan Straily to start, he could still be a right-handed force out of the bullpen because he has a power arm and has shown reasonably good command.