MLB Offseason Preview: Oakland Athleticsby John Lepore November 10, 2021 0 comments
The Oakland A’s missed the playoffs for the first time in four years finishing third in the AL West at 86-76. Despite a limited payroll, the A’s always seem to be in the thick of the race. Their hopes were still alive until the final week of the season when they got swept by the Seattle Mariners. That series effectively ended the season for Oakland. At the trade deadline, Oakland acquired centerfielder Starling Marte in what looked like a great move.
Unfortunately, four days later Ramon Laureano was suspended for 80 games. Less than two weeks after that, Chris Bassitt was drilled in the head with a 100-mph line drive. Thankfully, and miraculously, he avoided major damage and even returned to start a couple of games in late September. They will also have to find a new manager as Bob Melvin, who took over in 2011, will be taking his talents to San Diego.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Offseason Previews.
The A’s are losing some significant players to free agency. Marte was only a rental, Mark Canha also hits the market along with Mitch Moreland, Yan Gomes, and a slew of relievers. Oakland will have to be wise once again when signing players as they can’t go toe to toe with the big boys when it comes to spending. However, they can possibly go in on a very good free agent or two, especially if said free agent is young. Let’s take a look at what the A’s need to focus on to get back to October baseball in 2022.
Keys to the Offseason
Find an Outfield
With Canha and Marte hitting free agency and Laureano out for the first 27 games of the season, the A’s are left with Seth Brown and Tony Kemp manning the grass. They desperately need a bat out there and a centerfielder would be preferable. However, they could make it work with Kemp in CF for the first month until Laureano comes back. Either way, it is a spot that needs to be addressed. If Kemp has to play center then they will have to…
Get a Second Baseman
Jed Lowrie is a free agent and Elvis Andrus is 33 years old with one more year on his deal. Josh Harrison is also a free agent at 34 years old. If the A’s do find some outfield help they could move Kemp to second base where he played 89 games last season. However, signing a middle infielder and allowing Kemp to play where he is needed may be the better option.
Replace the Bullpen
The A’s are currently pretty empty in the bullpen. Essentially they only have Lou Trivino, Deolis Guerra, and Burch Smith locked into a spot. Of course, they will fill in the roster, but it will be important to get at least a couple of dependable arms. The combination of Yusmeiro Petit, Sergio Romo, and Jake Diekman, who are all free agents, appeared in 211 games for the A’s last year. Someone needs to be brought in to replace those innings with serviceable production.
Starling Marte, 33, Centerfielder
Marte’s short stint in Oakland last year went very well. He slashed .316/.359/.466 in 56 games with the A’s and had 25 of his major-league-leading 47 stolen bases in Oakland. Marte will be looking to cash in on what will likely be his last long-term deal. However, if the A’s can find the money and pair that with possibly an extra year, they could land the top outfielder in this free-agent class.
Andrelton Simmons, 32, Shortstop
We all know that the A’s will not be in the market for one of the top shortstops out there. They do have the funds to bring in one of the best defensive shortstops ever though. Simmons is an upgrade over Andrus, especially with the glove. It then allows Andrus to slide over to second base and Kemp to man the outfield. Simmons underperformed at the plate last season so his price tag may be on the cheaper side of $10 million per year.
Tommy Pham, 33, Left Fielder
Pham had a pretty good year after a dismal 2020. He still has some left in the tank even at 33 years old. His $8.9 million salary will likely go down especially if the A’s ink him for a two or three-year deal. He plays a solid left field and still has a nice little power-speed combo to his game. Although Pham has had his injuries, he still only has 732 games in the majors and he was fully healthy this past season.
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