2015 Oakland Athletics Have One Major Distinction From 2012


A lot has been made of how similar this offseason feels to the one that we experienced before the 2012 season, when the A’s traded away Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahill, who were all thought to be key pieces in the future of the Oakland Athletics. Billy Beane has been a very busy man this offseason, but he has added one factor that the 2012 team didn’t have: veteran leadership.

Yes, the 2012 version had veterans, and many will attribute Josh Reddick‘s fantastic 2012 season (and second half of 2014) to Jonny Gomes. This may be true, but even without Gomes, his defense makes him a solid player. The home runs were a HUGE bonus. We can hold out hope that he’ll find a spark offensively from one of the new veterans, such as Billy Butler. Why Billy? Because Butler has been in the big leagues for eight seasons, and is a career .295 hitter. The A’s don’t need Reddick to be a home run monster like in 2012, but if he could hit for a little average, that may fit into the A’s new philosophy a bit better.

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Ben Zobrist could be a great teacher to Marcus Semien, who could become the green and gold’s super-utility man for the next few seasons. Zobrist’s middle infield partner, Yunel Escobar also came along in the trade, and will be in Oakland for at least two seasons. With Zobrist likely leaving via free agency after 2015, Semien and Escobar are a potential tandem at second and shortstop for the 2016 season. Who better to teach Semien the nuances of working with Escobar than Zobrist?

With all of the comparisons to 2012, the expectation is that the Oakland Athletics will also win the AL West in 2015. That’s easier said than done. The division is going to be tough for any team to win, with the Mariners and Angels vying for the division along with Oakland, the Astros looking to make the climb to .500, and the Rangers being a box with question marks surrounding the outside.

Butler, Zobrist, Escobar and Ike Davis have been on bad teams. They’ve also been on playoff teams, with Zobrist and Butler having World Series experience. That experience, and their overall presence could be what has been missing in Oakland these past three seasons.

While a fourth straight playoff appearance by the Oakland Athletics could still be up in the air, these veterans may help to mold the future of the A’s, long after they’re gone to free agency or trade.