Last night on Twitter, I posed this question to our followers: which new addition will have the biggest impact next season? While most people responded with Ben Zobrist, there were a couple votes for Brett Lawrie and a vote each for Tyler Clippard and Mark Canha. Interestingly enough, no votes were cast for Billy Butler or Ike Davis.
I wanted to go over those that received votes briefly and try to come to a conclusion for that question.
With Sean Doolittle set to miss the beginning of the season, Clippard’s impact could be felt immediately. Without him, the A’s would be looking at Ryan Cook or Eric O’Flaherty to close out games, which isn’t necessarily bad, but having an established veteran like Clippard is certainly an upgrade. In 2012 Clippard saved 32 games for the Nationals, compiling a 3.72 ERA. In the two seasons since, his ERAs have been 2.41 and 2.18. While Cook got a taste of the closer’s role in 2012 as well (14 saves, 2.09 ERA), his ERA has increased in both seasons since, totaling a 2.54 in 2013, followed by a 3.42 last season. O’Flaherty may not be ready for the challenge with his recent injury history, so having Clippard to slot into the ninth will be huge for Oakland.
When Doolittle returns, Clippard will be the setup man the Oakland Athletics needed to add this offseason following the departure of Luke Gregerson.
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Canha is an interesting piece on this team. Being a Rule 5 pick means that he is going to get a shot in Oakland, with his performance dictating how long his stint in the green and gold will be. My guess is that he’ll get every opportunity to stick in the bigs after the A’s gave up Austin House, who pitched well with Stockton and in a brief Sacramento stop last season, to acquire Canha.
Canha is approaching his 26th birthday, which may be the reason Miami didn’t protect him in the draft. His career numbers in the minors certainly warrant a look in the show however, and what better spot to get that look than in Oakland, a venue known for giving undervalued talent their shot. Last season in Triple-A, Canha hit .303 with 20 home runs and 82 rbi to go along with a .384 on-base percentage. The potential for Canha to have a big season is there, and I’m excited to see what this versatile player can do.
If you’ve been on the site since the Josh Donaldson trade, you know that we’re in the tank for Lawrie. The biggest question surrounding him will be his health. He thinks he’ll be able to keep off of the disabled list playing on natural grass, and I believe him. He’s going to be an exciting player both offensively and defensively for Oakland in 2015.
When the Oakland Athletics acquired Zobrist, they gained some much-needed flexibility with their platoon-heavy offense. If the A’s need outfield depth, he has you covered. Marcus Semien or Eric Sogard struggling at the dish? Zobrist can fill in there, too. He, along with Butler and Davis, should provide a great veteran presence on this team, which may help the team as much in the future as it does in 2015.
The added bonus with Zobrist is his potential trade value. While this obviously isn’t the plan at the moment, if the cards don’t go the A’s way this season, Zobrist will be a hot commodity at the trade deadline. With Zobrist’s leadership and versatility, he could arguably have the most impact on the team, but for some reason I’m most excited to see what Lawrie and Canha can do in 2015.
Who do you think is the biggest addition of the offseason? Is it one of these players, or one that didn’t get a fancy bold heading? Let us know in the comments, or on our social media pages!