The Oakland A's have called up three players since the Sept. 1 roster expansion.
The team has been scuffling as of late, but don't expect any of the recent call-ups to be the spark that rights the ship. A regular will have to be that guy. Instead, these three will be looked upon simply to add depth and play roles in key situations.
So, who are they, what roles will they play and what do they bring to the table?
Let's answer all three questions.
Burns came to the A's organization via trade with the Washington Nationals. He was named the Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year in 2013.
Perhaps known best for his speed, Burns stole 74 bags in 2013. He followed up with 54 this season.
That's exactly what he'll be expected to do now.
Look for Burns to be used in the latter innings of close games as a pinch runner.
He most likely will not be used as a starter or even an injury replacement. Even without Coco Crisp, the A's have several players who can play in the outfield, including Josh Reddick, Craig Gentry, Jonny Gomes, Sam Fuld, Brandon Moss and Stephen Vogt.
Besides, Burns hasn't hit all that well this year, finishing the minor league season with a .237 batting average. In five at-bats with the A's earlier in the year, Burns went hitless.
In fact, you can almost chalk up Burns as Adam Dunn's courtesy runner right now.
Down the stretch, you can never seem to have too much pitching. Rodriguez is an added arm for the A's bullpen.
Rodriguez has been to The Show before, several times, in sporadic appearances.
He made his debut in 2009 with the Los Angeles Angels, pitching in just one game and accumulating a 27.00 ERA. He returned to MLB in 2011 with the Houston Astros, where he remained for two years. His finished that stint with a 4-13 record and a 4.77 ERA. He did not play in Major League Baseball in 2013.
Sure, the numbers are scary.
But at 30 years old, he seems to have finally put everything together. In 38 games as a reliever for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, Rodriguez maintained a 1.97 ERA. He walked 16, struck out 53 and allowed 10 earned runs total.
Rodriguez enjoyed a quick cup of coffee in The Show earlier this season. His big league ERA is 1.13 after pitching eight innings across six games in Oakland.
Expect Rodriguez to be used in the exact same manner the team used him in his May call-up. He'll pitch in middle innings (sixth and seventh) or close out blowouts to provide rest for the regular relievers.
The order of this list has gone from the most recognizable name to the least, so if you made it to this point and said out loud, "Who is Bryan Anderson?" then you probably aren't alone.
So, who is he?
Anderson is a bit of a minor league journeyman.
He's been in baseball since 2005, a fourth-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Simi Valley High School. He made it to Triple-A in 2008, and that's where he remained for the majority of his career. To say he's had a roller-coaster career is accurate.
Anderson hit extremely well in his first four seasons. He followed that up with three OK seasons. Then, his batting average tanked for two consecutive years.
This year, however, he raised his average by almost 100 points and is now hitting .320.
In 62 at-bats in Major League Baseball, Anderson has a career average of .210. His three visits to The Show have not lasted more than half a month.
In looking at the catchers within Oakland's system, it makes sense that the A's selected Anderson over the others. Though he hasn't hit well at this level yet, he has more experience than anyone else. He's more MLB-ready than a prospect in Double-A would be. And though it's a small amount of games, he hit better than River Cats starting catcher Ryan Ortiz (.381 to .215).
Anderson will simply serve as depth.
The A's are hurting at catcher, literally. John Jaso is out with concussion-like symptoms. Derek Norris has missed games due to a fatigued back. Stephen Vogt can no longer catch this season, as he has an injured foot. That leaves a slowed Norris and Geovany Soto.
The Anderson call-up makes plenty of sense. Even if you don't ever see him play.
These aren't wowing names, by any means. They aren't top-10 prospects who will come in, pinch hit their way into the everyday lineup and play the hero down the stretch.
The A's simply added bullpen depth (never too much), catching depth (the position with the most injuries, it seems), and speed on the basepaths (never a bad thing). It's not glamorous, but doing one small job effectively can pay huge dividends in Oakland's AL West title hopes.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.