Two years into the Oakland Athletics’ transformation, it will be interesting to see if Billy Beane’s strategies pay off this season. After the 2014 season, Oakland dealt 27 players including four All Stars and revamped the entire roster in an attempt to get younger and healthier. The results weren’t so good in 2015 and they are hoping this is the year their plan comes to fruition to climb out of the basement in the AL West.
Ace Sonny Gray is coming off a solid 2015 season after going 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP. After Gray, the rotation is murky as they inked a deal with Henderson Alvarez who could still be on the DL at the start of the season due to shoulder surgery along with 35 year-old lefty Rich Hill whose comeback to the majors included four September starts for the Red Sox in 2015. Other pitchers who could find themselves in the mix include guys they’ve acquired via deals like Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin (Josh Donaldson trade), Chris Bassitt (Jeff Samardzija trade), Jesse Hahn (Derek Norris trade), and Aaron Brooks
(Ben Zobrist trade). The A’s focused on elevating their bullpen this offseason after putting up a league high ERA of 4.63 in 2015, snagging four new relievers. They signed Ryan Madson and Jon Axford during free agency and also snagged Liam Hendricks and lefty Marc Rzepczynski via trades with Toronto and San Diego, respectively.
Even though 2015 was a rough one for Marcus Semien, he will remain at shortstop and Oakland is hoping for some improvement in his average in 2016. Jed Lowrie will likely field second base, who was in an A’s uniform in 2013 and 2014 before becoming a Houston Astro in 2015 and is now back with the club. Third baseman Danny Valencia who has been with six teams in six years may have finally found his home in Oakland while Yonder Alonso will man first base after coming over via trade from the San Diego Padres. The core group in outfield will be made up of Billy Burns, Khris Davis and Josh Reddick.
Starting off the 2016 season fast is a necessity for the Oakland A’s in order for them to not fall behind in the AL West. After a very rough 2015, this team should begin to gel and start winning games together. Be sure to purchase your Oakland A’s tickets and head out to support these guys all summer long.
Oakland Athletics Tickets
The Oakland Athletics are one of the oldest baseball franchises in the American League. The team started playing back at the turn of the century, the 20th century. The A’s then played in Philadelphia, where they had moments of greatness over the first half century. They won five World Series and lost three, though these moments came between long stretches of last place finishes and 100-plus loss seasons.
The Athletics took advantage of the MLB effort to move west by the time the club felt it had used up all the good will in the city of Philadelphia, moving to Kansas City. The move to K.C. did not change the makeup of the roster and the baseball team continued its struggle.
The A’s did not return to glory until another move westward, this time to Oakland. The club had Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter on the mound in the 1970s. Both were Cy Young Award winners. In addition, Oakland had Reggie Jackson, who won an MVP with the team. Overall, the club played in five consecutive postseasons that decade, including a stretch in which they won three straight World Series.
A decade later, Oakland had put together an impressive roster. Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were the Bash Brothers; Ricky Henderson was a speedster, part-time slugger, and MVP candidate; and pitchers Bob Welch, Dennis Eckersley, and Dave Stewart were mainstays on the mound. Together, these players played in three consecutive World Series, winning one in 1989.
The economics of baseball meant that a club playing in such a small market could not retain the services of these players. Eventually General Manager Billy Beane took a new approach to the front office game and sought high OBP players that came cheap. This fit with the budget constraints and the team contended in the AL West to begin the 21st century. The A’s have yet to return to the World Series, but they continue to put together strong teams built to challenge.