It has been four days since free agency officially began, and fans of the Oakland Athletics still don’t know if their team will be in rebuild mode, or if the band is getting back together for another run. While the coaching changes that were made last week, adding an assistant hitting coach in Marcus Jensen, who will also serve as the team’s catching coach, signal that the team will be kept together for one more run, that is pure speculation at this point. Neither of these coaching positions existed last season, and seem to address issues that the 2014 A’s had, so it is fair to assume that Oakland will not enter a full-blown rebuilding effort this offseason.
That being said, the closest the Oakland Athletics have been to being mentioned in an offseason rumor have been the numerous reports that involve a mystery team that is mentioned with key free agents.
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Could the A’s make a big splash and sign a Hanley Ramirez or a Yasmany Tomas? Probably not. Will we give up hope until word has become official? Of course not; we’re A’s fans. Our most pressing need isn’t a big-name power hitter. What we need is a shortstop, which the A’s have in Andy Parrino but fans aren’t going to buy a Parrino-lead, defensive-minded infield as a team that’s going for it all.
Free agents cost money, the A’s Achilles heel. Other than bullpen help, which the A’s can sign off the market, most of the damage that Billy Beane and company will do this Winter will likely be via the trade. These trades may not bring in frontline talent, but I am guessing that they will be key cogs to any potential run that Oakland will go on in 2015.
Next season could represent the last year that the core that the A’s have assembled thus far has a chance to truly compete. With many players, including Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, and Josh Donaldson firmly entrenched in arbitration following 2015, their price tags will only go up, leading to the A’s paying more for the same amount of talent they already have in place.
Next offseason may be full of worry, but this Winter is full of optimism. Now we just have to sit back, relax, and watch the rumor mill incessantly.