Oakland Athletics’ Future Is Still Bright, Without Rebuilding

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Oakland Athletics Don’t Need to Rebuild Team To Succeed

Although the season was pretty much over it before it began and the Oakland Athletics were sellers this trade deadline, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to completely rebuild. They have a lot of players with youth and experience under the age of 30, and they are just a few pieces away from being a contender again.

They already have an ace in Sonny Gray but can add a few more arms to team up with him, and add another power bat in the lineup. The Athletics have a lot of young guys on this current roster and some of these guys – like Mark Canha, Billy Burns, and Josh Phegley – have shown that they can already play at this level. These guys have shown some ups and downs this season, but the future does look bright for the Oakland Athletics.

Related: After the Deadline: Ranking the Oakland Athletics’ Top Ten Prospects

Nobody expected Burns to be the “spark-plug” that he is at the lead off spot, and his defense in center has been spectacular, as well. He will certainly get a lot of Rookie of the Year votes.  Burns looks to be a long-term option at center field for the A’s. On top of his stellar defense, he has something you can’t teach in baseball: speed, speed, and more speed. He is in the top five in stolen bases this season, and he didn’t receive his call to the majors until the second month of the season, batting .300 ever since.

Add that to the fact that the A’s have an ace in Gray and a young catcher that will eventually replace Stephen Vogt in Phegley, and things can’t be that bad. Phegley has earned the trust of everyone in the clubhouse with his precise throwing and quick release. Not to mention he is a wall behind the plate, allowing few balls to get by him. What pitcher would not want Phegley back there catching for him? His bat has been very productive with limited at-bats, hitting .271 with six home runs and 23 runs batted in on the season.

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With Vogt just turning 30, and Phegley being a very valuable option as a backup, Bob Melvin can do some different things with his lineup. He can give Vogt an off day and play him at first or DH him. The toll on a catcher’s body is very demanding and having two solid catchers who are both offensively and defensively gifted is what every team needs.

The Oakland Athletics do need to bring in another power bat to the lineup. Heading into next season, they still have some solid young veterans: Josh Reddick, Marcus Semien (whose defense at shortstop will only improve), Brett Lawrie, Eric Sogard, Billy Butler, and Ike Davis, who can all contribute. Even though Butler is having an off-year, he can get back to his previous form. If given another year to gel with his teammates, he’ll be back to a .300 plus hitter again. Similarly, if Davis can put together his power numbers like he did in his first few years in New York with the Mets, then the A’s will be in great shape offensively.

Related: Recapping the Oakland Athletics’ Moves At the Trade Deadline

This has been a very rough year for any A’s fan. The bullpen and defense, once a strength of this ball club, has faltered. The loss of All-Star closer Sean Doolittle this season has hurt the bullpen, not only because he’s great on the field, but because he is a great teammate and he keeps everyone else in the bullpen loose with his personality and character.

A few minor tweaks this off-season will be all the Oakland Athletics need. They are not that far away from regaining their winning ways. They have a top tier pitcher in Gray who is very young, and once they find a way to compliment him, the A’s will be fine. They’re not rebuilding, they just need to add to what they already have. They brought in some new faces and although it didn’t work this year, this group will come together and be a contender again sooner rather than later!

Next: Oakland Athletics' Trade Deadline Roundup

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