First I wanted to establish the fact that the A's did have some spaces to replace in their outfield and at DH. Power hitting LF Josh Willingham left to join the Minnesota Twins and RF David Dejesus joined the Chicago Cubs. DH Hideki Matsui is still a free agent. Jai Miller, who hit 32 homeruns in AAA for Oakland, was DFA'd and is now with the Baltimore Orioles organization. Ryan Sweeney was traded to Boston as part of the Andrew Bailey trade, but that deal was centered around new Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick. They still have potential future outfielders in Michael Taylor and Chris Carter. Carter has been a pure power hitter while Taylor has been a solid all around hitter.
It has been the A's actions over the last couple of weeks that have been surprising. Without a true centerfielder, it was no surprise that they brought back CF Coco Crisp. The two years and $14 million may not go down as a great contract for the A's, but at that point, they had their CF. The signing of Jonny Gomes provided depth in case one of the younger hitters was not ready. Then they signed Cuban OF Yoennis Cespedes. If Cespedes is ready to play in the big leagues, which most of us think he is, that puts two of them on the bench. Throw in Manny Ramirez, and you start to realize the A's have some doubt on the afore mentioned young outfielders.
Knowing Ramirez will miss the first 50 games due to his suspension, perhaps the A's will go with Cespedes in LF, Crisp in CF, Reddick in RF, while Gomes DHs. This leaves more time for Carter and Taylor to play in the minors, though I feel neither need it. Could Carter or Taylor be traded? Some teams could use a little depth, perhaps the A's might listen. Even if it is for a back-up corner outfield spot, the Mets would benefit if they had one of the two. The Phillies could get some ABs for their former prospect Taylor, as could a number of teams.
I find it a little baffling that the Athletics have all these extra outfielders. It would make sense since they are rebuilding, that they would have an interest in playing Taylor and Carter more often to see where they pan out for the future. Maybe it is a Gomes or Crisp that is out on the trading block either at the end of spring training or at some point of the season. All I know is, there is no way the Oakland bench can hold three of them, assuming the other four are playing. Odds would dictate the A's would be more inclined to move Gomes than Taylor or Carter. I wouldn't rule out either Carter or Taylor being traded before opening day though. There is no question there would be interest and the A's could continue to stock their minor league system.