After a busy offseason, the A’s of 2015 will appear significantly different with potentially 12 new faces on their projected 25-man roster. No longer wearing an A’s uniform are Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Derek Norris and Luke Gregerson. In their absence, young SS Marcus Seiman and starting pitchers Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman will need to step up and make an impact. The A’s strength this season will be their bullpen,
once Sean Doolittle returns to the lineup from rotator cuff surgery. Tyler Clippard, Eric O’Flaherty- who should be returning from Tommy John surgery, and Ryan Cook will all provide fuel to the fire and should help with the closing duties. The key to the season will be what RF Josh Reddick and 1B Ike Davis can bring to the table as they have shown flashes of greatness before. Fans will want to grab those Oakland Athletics’ tickets and head to the ballpark this season. 2015 may be a rebuilding year for this team but could also exceed expectations based on the unknown. With nearly half the roster comprised of fresh faces in Oakland, this could be a very interesting and entertaining season.
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.