The Oakland made a lot of moves this offseason. Some signings/trades made me scratch my head. I understood the Ben Zobrist trade, but I feel like they should have targeted a power-hitting outfielder in free agency. Can an outfield with Sam Fuld, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick make the playoffs?
Oakland’s starting rotation lost Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. The A’s traded San Diego for Jesse Hahn and they hope to get a full season from Drew Pomeranz. Also, they should get Jarrod Parker back in June from Tommy John surgery.
Can Oakland make the postseason for a fourth season in a row?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Oakland Athletics.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 88-74
Key Additions: 2B Ben Zobrist, DH Billy Butler, 3B Brett Lawrie, SP Jesse Hahn, RP Tyler Clippard, SS Marcus Semien, SP Chris Bassitt, 1B Ike Davis, C Josh Phegley, RP Chad Smith, RP Eury De La Rosa, SP Sean Nolin, RP Brad Mills & SP Barry Zito
Key Losses: SP Jon Lester, SP Jeff Samardzija, 3B Josh Donaldson, SS Jed Lowrie, 1B Brandon Moss, SP Jason Hammel, DH Adam Dunn, 2B Alberto Callaspo, C Derek Norris, C John Jaso, RP Luke Gregerson, 3B Nick Punto & 1B Daric Barton
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Stephen Vogt, Ike Davis, Ben Zobrist, Brett Lawrie, Marcus Semien, Sam Fuld, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick & Billy Butler
Projected Starting Rotation: Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Hahn, Drew Pomeranz & Kendall Graveman
Closer: Sean Doolittle
Fantasy Sleeper: 1B Ike Davis – Davis fell off the face of the Earth after his breakout 2012 season. He crushed 32 homers, but only hit .227. He was demoted to the minors for a portion of the 2013 season. By the time 2014 came around, he fell out of favor and was traded to Pittsburgh. He’s clearly a platoon player, but Oakland doesn’t have an ideal player to match up with him. Stephen Vogt is the other player who will man first. They both only hit right-handed pitching. Davis is interesting because he just turned 27. He still has time to turn his career around.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: No One – Oakland traded two of the their top prospects trying to load up their Major League roster. Addison Russell was their best prospect last season, but he was traded to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Daniel Robertson (another shortstop) was dealt to Tampa Bay in the Ben Zobrist deal. Oakland’s farm system isn’t as stocked as past years.
Team Analysis: Oakland has made the postseason three seasons running. They were winning despite keeping true to their tight payroll budget. They would sign underrated talent in free agency while keeping their farm system stocked. Sonny Gray and Jarrod Parker were two of the homegrown pitchers they’ve brought through the system.
This year’s roster is quite different from most Oakland teams. There isn’t a single starting position player that was drafted by the A’s. They’ve acquired every player either via trade or free agency. Most of their starting rotation was also acquired that way. You wouldn’t usually notice such a thing, but you do because it’s Oakland. They have gone away from what has worked in the past. It leads me to worry about the long-term success of Oakland.
The AL West is one of the best divisions in baseball. Oakland needed to keep either Jeff Samardzija or Jon Lester in order to compete. Lester was clearly out of their price range, but they should have held onto Samardzija for most of the season. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, so I do understand Oakland’s reasoning behind the trade. They could have received a better deal at the trade deadline.
Oakland won’t make it to four postseasons in a row. The AL West is just too difficult. Texas and Houston are better while Seattle and Los Angeles look like the two teams that could make it to October.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 81.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 76-86 (4th AL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.