Athletics Roster and schedule
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Oakland Athletics roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Oakland Athletics roster and schedule:

ATHLETICS ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Athletics roster to begin the season, give or take:

Catchers

Sean Murphy
Austin Allen

Infielders:

Matt Olson
Tony Kemp
Marcus Semien
Matt Chapman
Franklin Barreto
Chad Pinder

Outfielders

Ramón Laureano
Mark Canha
Robbie Grossman
Stephen Piscotty
Khris Davis

Starters

Sean Manaea
Frankie Montas
Jesús Luzardo
Mike Fiers
Chris Bassitt

Relievers

Liam Hendriks
Lou Trivino
Yusmeiro Petit
Jake Diekman
Joakim Soria
Daniel Mengden
T.J. McFarland
J.B. Wendelken


BREAKDOWN:

The A’s have won 97 games and bowed out in the Wild Card game each of the past two seasons. They look only slightly different this year — some journeyman starters gone, some longer-term options returning from injury or suspension, and the ascendance of prospects helping out as well — and the lineup remains formidable, with only Tony Kemp’s replacing Jurickson Profar at second base standing as the a major change. Chapman is one of the best players in baseball. Semien was an MVP candidate last year. Laureano flashes amazing leather.

The biggest question for the A’s is starter health. They have already lost A.J. Puk to start the season with shoulder problems, and everyone besides Mike Fiers has either had durability issues in the past or else has not been tested for endurance. Of course, the 2020 season doesn’t really count as an endurance test so, advantage A’s.

It’s hard to picture the A’s passing Houston, but assuming the health of the pitching holds up, Oakland will be an excellent team once again.

ATHLETICS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Athletics home stands will be July 24-29 (Angels, Rockies), August 4-9 (Rangers, Astros), August 19-23 (Diamondbacks, Angels), September 4-10 (Padres, Astros), September 18-20 (Giants), and September 25-27 (Mariners)

The entire Athletics roster and schedule can be seen here.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”