The 2014 A's used a revolving door of players to anchor first base for much of the year, with Brandon Moss, Stephen Vogt and Nate Freiman all spending some time at the position. Newcomer Ike Davis will be paid $3.8 million in his first year in Oakland, but he isn't a lock to play first base on a full-time basis. Some offensive concerns surround Davis, who is seen as the organization's second attempt to create an All-Star–caliber slugger out of an overlooked journeyman (which Moss was a few years back). If Davis demonstrates issues adjusting to left-handed pitching, against which he's posted a career slash line of .196/.261/.316, the A's could move him into a platoon role with Mark Canha and/or Billy Butler.
Getty ImagesJim McIsaac
Does Barry Zito have enough left?
A few names in particular will battle it out for the back of the A's rotation in 2015. Returning arms Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz are definitely in the mix behind Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, but there are more options as well. Newcomers Jesse Hahn, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman could turn heads in the Spring, as could new/returning A Barry Zito. The 36-year-old is already earning rave reviews from those that have watched him throw, and he trained with the same coach that salvaged Kazmir just one year ago. Could Zito really be a rotation option? Time will tell, but preliminary reports have him using a revamped delivery — and increased velocity, too. The next few weeks will be intriguing.
Getty ImagesHarry How
How best to utilize Zobrist
Ben Zobrist is a jack of all trades. He can play shortstop, second base and outfield, making him the perfect utilityman for the A's. During Spring Training, putting the puzzle pieces together regarding the A's defensive alignment will be a big task for the coaching staff. Will Zobrist slide into left field? Or will he play second base, displacing Eric Sogard to a bench role? Will Marcus Semien show enough promise to peg as the everyday shortstop, or will Zobrist move over there instead? With a few versatile infielders at their disposal, the A's will have to figure all this out over the next few weeks.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Will any surprise relievers make an impression?
Pat Venditte is a switch-pitcher. Yes, you read that right — he throws with both hands, and has a custom-made glove to accomodate his craftiness. Venditte, 29, is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Though he hasn't yet made it past AAA in his career, you can't count the A's out as giving him a chance. After all, if he has a strong showing in Spring he could force his way onto the roster or at the very least open the year at AAA Nashville. If he makes the bullpen, he'd give the A's a definite advantage with late-inning situational pitching. Other names to watch in Arizona include R.J. Alvarez and Taylor Thompson.
Getty ImagesBrace Hemmelgarn
Crafting the 'perfect' lineup with all the new faces
Figuring out the lineup puzzle for 2015 will be determined by Spring performances, most likely. Manager Bob Melvin is known for his mixing and matching, and that will no doubt be his game plan again this year. Billy Butler saw his power go down a tick last year, only hitting nine home runs (a year after hitting 15 in 2013, which came after clubbing 29 in 2012). Is he a cleanup hitter anymore, or is he best suited for the No. 5 or No. 6 hole? How will fellow new additions Brett Lawrie, Marcus Semien and Ben Zobrist mesh in the lineup with Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and the rest of the green and gold?