Filed by: Brad Koesters – Prospect Junkies MLB Corrospondant
Key Additions— Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Jarrod Parker
Key Losses——-Josh Willingham, Andrew Bailey, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill
Lineup—As much as this team dealt in trades in the offseason, very little of it was based around their offense. In fact, based on last year, I would say with the additions of Cespedes and Crisp their offense is actually slightly better than they have been. With that being said, there are quite a few question marks with this offense. Their outfield has the chance to be very good, but until we know what we will actually get from Cespedes and youngster Josh Reddick, who the A’s got from the Red Sox, we can’t say for sure that they will produce enough to be successful. The infield leaves something to be desired, but I am fairly high on Jamile Weeks and think he could become an above average 2b. The 1 thing I was surprised with in the offseason is them not dealing Kurt Suzuki, who returns at the catcher position. Also, this team will stay in the news if Manny Ramirez returns to the league and is able to produce at any level. I for one would love to see it, but I don’t think that is going to happen.
Pitching—What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time many people thought that the A’s could contend based on their young pitching staff, now a year later that staff has been torn apart and they are building for 2015. They are dealing with injuries, as well as uncertainty in who is actually going to start the year in the rotation. Brandon McCarthy looks to finally turn the corner and build off of a solid 2011 as the staff ace. After that, it is anyone’s guess as to who will be taking the ball for this team. There are names you have probably heard of, Bartolo Colon, Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson, but also newcomers like Tommy Milone and Tyson Ross. All in all though, whoever they use, they will struggle. Grant Balfour was just named the closer, but he is more of a middle of the bullpen kind of guy. Brian Fuentes should be the main setup man, but again that is not a role he can handle anymore. With the stress this young staff will put on the bullpen, I expect them to struggle.
Outlook—For one, can someone please respond and tell me why Billy Beane is allowed to blow up this team and try to rebuild as they move into a new stadium?? And people talk like he is a genius, but come on… Anyways, this team is going to struggle this year, but I give them credit for having a plan. While I don’t agree with who is leading the plan, I like how they dealt from a position of strength and have a game plan of when they are going to contend again. This division got better, and the A’s got worse, so adding that up it is going to be a long season in Oakland.