The Oakland Athletics will be an interesting team to keep an eye on in 2015, mainly because they have traded so many key parts away this offseason. What are a few storylines to look out for next season? We’ve got you covered.
First, is Billy Beane still magical? After trading away All-Stars Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija and Derek Norris, what can we expect from the A’s in 2015? Many have compared this offseason to the 2011 offseason, which lead to the division title 2012, but as of right now, we don’t know how next season will go. Do we think they’ll be competitive? Yes. Are there a lot of “ifs”, “ands” or “maybes”? Definitely. For the Oakland Athletics to be in contention next season, many things will have to go right; mainly staying healthy.
That leads us to another storyline: can Brett Lawrie stay healthy? If the answer is yes, then the A’s could be in great shape. If he were to play in 162 games (he won’t, but something close to it would resemble these numbers), his career averages suggest that he would put up a season with 20 homers, 74 rbi and a .265 batting average.
Those numbers could even be higher. Each season Lawrie has a stint on the DL, which means he needs to get his timing back upon return. Say he doesn’t need to make that adjustment next season due to improved health, and it’s plausible that he could have an even better offensive season than those projections. Also, playing on grass may be better for his legs, and his power numbers could also take a slight increase. Speculation? Yes. Could it happen? Also yes.
Where will the power come from in the Oakland lineup? There are plenty of options, but they’re all speculative guesses at this point. Lawrie is one option. Billy Butler and Ike Davis could also provide some pop. One option that intrigues me is Marcus Semien, whom the A’s acquired from the White Sox in the Samardzija deal. He hit six homers in 231 at-bats last season, and could be good for about 15 homers if he gets consistent playing time. While he may not hit as many dingers as some of his teammates, that kind of production from the middle infield would be a big bonus for Oakland.
Who’s going to play left field for the Oakland Athletics? Right now the trio of Craig Gentry, Sam Fuld and Mark Canha will be seeing playing time, but if one of them gets hot, that could limit how often the other two see the field with Coco Crisp (when healthy) and Josh Reddick (same) manning center and right. Canha hit .303 in Triple-A last season with 20 homers and 82 rbi. I’m excited to get a look at him, and think that the job will be his for the taking.
These are just a few of the storylines as we near 2015. As we go through spring training, some of these questions may be answered, and new ones will arise. Spring can’t arrive soon enough.