Offseason overhaul leaves A’s with unfamiliar faces 

click to enlarge A's pitcher A.J. Griffin is eager to get back on the mound for spring training. - GREGORY BULL/AP PHOTO
  • Gregory Bull/AP Photo
  • A's pitcher A.J. Griffin is eager to get back on the mound for spring training.
Reporting dates: Pitchers and catchers, Thursday. Position players: Feb. 24.

First full-squad workout: Feb. 25

3 things to watch

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

Name tags will be required considering the offseason overhaul general manager Billy Beane put the A’s roster through. Following eight trades that brought 13 players to Oakland, the A’s will have an entirely new infield — highlighted by third baseman Brett Lawrie — and a roster that is younger and still very versatile following the late-season collapse and shocking playoff ouster. All of the moves have the feel of a rebuilding mode for 2015, but that also seemed to be the case entering 2012, when the A’s won the first of back-to-back AL West championships. Beane has built this roster around the pitching staff and an offense that is less reliant on home runs. REARMING THEMSELVES

Tommy John surgery took out the A’s top two pitchers in spring training last season, so A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker are eager to get back on the mound and bolster the rotation. But their return to the rotation won’t happen until at least early June. The rotation is still deep enough. Sonny Gray, thrust into the ace role during his first full season in the bigs, shouldered the role well, while Scott Kazmir, who surprised en route to a 15-9 record and 3.55, will hold down the No. 2 slot for now. Jesse Chavez, Jesse Hahn and Drew Pomeranz are among the candidates to round out the rotation.

LINING UP

Manager Bob Melvin will not come out of spring training with a set lineup. His challenge is to figure out which of the young players will be able to cut it at the major-league level and who is comfortable playing where. Entering spring, you could lock in Lawrie at third, Stephen Vogt at catcher, Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. The other five spots — including designated hitter — are likely to be platoons, with superutilityman Ben Zobrist the most versatile of the cast. Billy Butler will be counted on offensively, whether at DH or first.

VETERAN TO WATCH

Ike Davis: In 2012, the lefty-hitting slugger hit 30 homers with 90 RBIs. In the two years since, Davis hit 20 homers and drove in 84. His production dropoff led to him being dumped by the New York Mets and dealt to Pittsburgh. If he can become even a decent power threat, he will be a key to the offense.

ROOKIE TO WATCH

Marcus Semien: The former Cal and St. Mary’s High School of Berkeley star was perhaps the key acquisition in the Jeff Samardzija trade. Semien is a prototypical A’s player: excellent defender who has a good eye at the plate. If Semien can earn regular playing time at short or second, the A’s platoon plan will work well.

POSITION BATTLE TO WATCH

The outfield is thin, with Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry the third and fourth outfielders. Ben Zobrist will likely see some time in left, but you have to think the A’s will be on the lookout for a left fielder throughout the spring. Maybe this is the punishment for trading Yoenis Cespedes.

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Steve Drumwright

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