Judging the Oakland Athletics in 2015?
Sep 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (6) on the mound with the players as he replaces the pitcher against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs have hired Joe Maddon as their new Manager, and many baseball experts and fans began to discuss if this means the team will be competitive in 2015. I posed this question on Twitter:
"What will be the measure to determine if Maddon is successful with the Cubs in 2015? If they end season above .500 for first time since ’09? -Jennifer Trumpp (@JenniferTrumpp) November 3, 2014"
I enjoyed the discussion on Twitter, but it had me wondering how we will judge the Oakland Athletics in 2015. What will the bench mark be? The term “all in” was used a lot in 2014 to describe the Athletics. The A’s wouldn’t be content winning the American League West for the third consecutive year. No, the A’s had their sights set on the World Series. Many fans have reflected back on the 2014 Athletics’ season and felt it was a failure. How could a team make the postseason but still be viewed as a failure? The A’s once again missed out on advancing to the ALCS, but this year they even failed to reach the ALDS. The A’s did have a winning season, but they fell short of expectations.
The 2014 season has concluded and now we ponder, “what is the goal for 2015?” Perhaps before looking forward, we should first take a look back. Let’s focus on the A’s most recent rebuild. The A’s won the division in 2006, finishing the season 93-69 (.574 winning percentage). The next few years were a bit rough for the team, and the fans, before recently returning to winning seasons.
2007: A’s finish 76-86 (.469 winning percentage), third place in AL West. 18 games behind the AL West Champion Angels.
2008: The A’s fall 24.5 games behind the division champion Angels and place third once again. They end the season 75-86 (.466 winning percentage)
2009: The Athletics continued to decline. The fell to last place in the AL West, 22 games behind the Angels, who once again once the division. The A’s as they finished 75-87 (.463).
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2010: The A’s show dramatic improvement and end their season 81-81 (.500) and in second place behind the Rangers by 9 games. They finished the season only 1 win above the Angels.
2011: The A’s end the season in third place, and trailed the Rangers by 22 games. The A’s record was 74-88 (.457)
2012: The Oakland Athletics shock everyone to become the AL West Champions by beating the Rangers on the final game of the season. The A’s finish 94-68 (.580) but lose ALDS Game 5 to the Tigers.
2013: The A’s continued to improve, and once again win the division, but increase the margin by finishing 5.5 games ahead of the Rangers. Their record was 96-66 (.593) but unfortunately lose to the Tigers, again, during ALDS Game 5.
2014: The expectations were high for A’s, but they did not end up winning the division. They went 88-74 (.543). They finished 10 games behind the Angels, but did clinch a wild card berth, but did not advance due to a loss to the Royals.
2015: What will be considered a success for the A’s? After consecutive post season berths we can’t possibly consider a .500 + season a success. The A’s will have to win the division. A’s will have to advance to the ALCS. Or is it too early to determine if the management is even seeking to have a competitive team?
Perhaps we can’t set realistic bench marks when we don’t know if there will be a fire sale on any talented players. We will anxious await the news of the first few offseason trades, which will be an indicator if this team is looking to dismantle or compete. Will they trade a starter to replenish our farm system or acquire a left fielder? Is there any truth to the Donaldson trade rumors? Will the A’s give Lowrie a qualifying offer?* Should the A’s give Lowrie a qualifying offer? If not, who will be our short stop? There are many questions that will slowly be answered through the offseason, while some we may not know until spring training.
*Shortly after this article was published Jane Lee confirmed via Twitter that the A’s did not extend a qualifying offer to Jed Lowrie.
Please leave comments or tweet me your thoughts regarding the A’s in 2015.