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Jemile Weeks is always preparing to play whether he starts or plays off the bench
Most of the decisions the Oakland Athletics need to make regarding the postseason roster are clear. There's just the matter of one final spot.
If there's no Brett Anderson or Bartolo Colon, even that spot becomes obvious.
However, if they take it, and it's safe and logical to assume one (Anderson) does, the final spot becomes a headache.
So it's either 12 pitchers and less guys off the bench, or fill up all six bench spots and roll with 11 pitchers.
The 12th pitcher in this case would be Travis Blackley, who would pitch from the rotation until Anderson returns. He then would switch back to the bullpen. But carrying this many pitchers creates space issues, and someone from the bench wouldn't have a roster spot.
Two guys fighting for a spot are Jemile Weeks and Collin Cowgill.
Both men are very fast, with the edge going to Weeks. Weeks' downfall is he only plays second. Adam Rosales can do that. Cowgill meanwhile, can play all three outfield spots. Then again, Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith and Brandon Moss can fill in if necessary.
Weeks provides a third IF option (Weeks, Rosales, Chris Carter) for four spots while Cowgill provides a fourth OF option (Cowgill, Smith, Gomes, Moss) for three spots.
The A's will only utilize Cowgill or Weeks for their speed anyway, so it might as well be for a more pressing need in the infield.
If it comes down to these two, Weeks wins.
But if there's 12 pitchers, there isn't room for him or Cowgill.
Furthermore, Oakland has to make that decision regarding 12 pitchers versus six bench players. In the postseason, both are equally important.
So which is more important—Weeks or Blackley?
Weeks provides the late-inning baserunning, which is important (see Roberts, Dave) and can play effective defense. Blackley is a lefty (always important) and starts in Anderson's absence.
No Blackley, and the A's have 10 pitchers until Anderson is healthy. That's dangerous.
No Weeks, and the A's have just one speedy late-inning option off the bench (Rosales). That's not very beneficial either.
This one is tough.
Prediction: The A's take a huge chance and put Anderson on the 25-man roster. Blackley—based on poor performances recently—is left off. Weeks takes the final spot.