For teams like the New York Yankees, or any other professional team not named the Oakland Athletics, the offseason is a time filled some degree of excitement. From free agent signings to those grueling, yet equally intriguing trade rumors, the offseason for most teams, at least, is a time to upgrade and fine tune things before the start of the season.
For the A’s, however, this offseason is going to be filled with anxiety, anger, and most likely, disappointment. Last offseason, many A’s fans, including myself, were surprised by General manager Billy Beane and the rest of the A’s front office for being so aggressive in the early goings of the offseason. The A’s, if you can remember, went after Adrian Beltre with a very, very aggressive approach. For the penny-pinching A’s, the heavy pursuit of Beltre seemed a bit out of character.
The A’s were also rumored to be interested in free agents Lance Berkman and Adam Dunn. Oh, and there was that whole situation with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. The A’s were scared off by Iwakuma’s price tag, which was rumored to be in the Barry Zito range of ridiculousness. Still, the A’s made a conscious effort to upgrade the team last winter in more ways than none.
In the end, the A’s added Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui, and David DeJesus to the offense. Oakland also beefed up their bullpen with the likes of Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes. Beane’s efforts, in my mind, to upgrade his team last winter were met with mixed results.
The additions to the anemic offense did not pay off this year. The A’s best addition was Willingham, who set career highs in home runs (29) and RBIs (98) this year, but other than Willingham’s efforts the A’s didn’t get much help from Matsui or DeJesus.
Oakland did get a bit of relief from Balfour, but Fuentes ’11 campaign was nothing more than mediocre. Overall, the A’s efforts this year were not on par with many people’s expectations. Don’t expect any of that nonsense you call offseason “spending.”
Heading into this winter, it’s expected that the A’s will not be aggressive buyers. Instead, it’s rumored that all of Oakland’s players, with the exception of Jemile Weeks, are available for trade. That means Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Kurt Suzuki, Brett Anderson, among others could be sporting new team colors in the spring.
It’s rather depressing, to me, at least, to know that some of your favorite young players could be on the way out. The fact that the A’s still remain without a resolution to their stadium problem doesn’t help things either.
So, as a way to take your mind off these depressing matters, I’ve included a small list of things that will help you, the avid A’s fan, survive this offseason. Enjoy, and as always, please hit the comments section below to express your opinions!
- Read Moneyball. I included this on my list for last year’s offseason survival guide, but I’ll include it again here. It’s one of the most influential sports books ever written, and it’s guaranteed to remind you of all the good times the A’s have had under Beane’s watch. However, it’s a double-edged sword in a way, too. Many of us may grow especially angry after reading Moneyball, as these A’s are a far cry from the teams of the early 2000’s. To me, however, Moneyball lifts my spirits. Watching the movie might not be a bad idea, either.
- Play MLB Front Office Manager for XBOX 360. It’s a rather old game by today’s standards, but Front Office Manager (FOM) is a personal favorite of mine. You’re basically the General manager of your favorite MLB team. You get to complete trades, free agent signings, and player drafts. Of course, after I won my seventh World Series Title, the game got a little boring. Not to brag or anything.
- Read this article over and over like I did. It gave me a tiny bit of hope regarding the A’s proposed move to San Jose.
- Take solace in the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers mess is in the process of being completed. Sure, the actual sale of the team may take a while to complete, but at least this whole mess is working toward a resolution. Not much can be said about Oakland’s stadium situation. Hopefully, with the Dodgers mess cleared up, MLB can actually take the time and give some attention to our penny-pinching Athletics.
- Make frequent visits to Swingin’ A’s for all your Oakland A’s related news. Seriously, our goal is to provide you with all the comfort in the world during these hard, difficult, and extremely depressing times. Let us make the impending departures of Willingham, DeJesus, Matsui, Cahill, Gonzalez, and basically everybody else other than Weeks a little easier on your soul.
How will you survive this offseason? Give us your opinions below in the comments section!