The Oakland Athletics need to take a close look at the rest of the competition heading into next season. Their first goal should be winning the division before winning the World Series. In order to win a World Series, the A’s have to first win the American League West division. Compared to the rest of the AL West, the Athletics have a ways to go. Every other team has some major threats on the roster and the A’s need to find a way to counter those potent offenses with a strong offseason.
What are they going to do to keep pace with the talented AL West? Only time will tell. The Los Angeles Angels have a very young and lethal lineup, the Seattle Mariners have a firepower offense, the Houston Astros are incredibly young and extremely dangerous, and the Texas Rangers have more offensive weapons then the A’s heading into 2016. In the blink of an eye, Oakland has switched with the Astros from first to worst in less than a year.
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Every team in the division has that “special” player that can carry the team. The Angels have two in Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, who isn’t showing signs of slowing down. The Astros have a very deep lineup and their batting order 1-9 can go deep at any time. Plus, they have their super star in second baseman Jose Altuve and future star shortstop Carlos Correa. The Mariners have an ace in Felix Hernandez and major offensive weapons in Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano. Finally, the Rangers have Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder and other young weapons to go along with them. The A’s right now don’t really have that go-to weapon. A guy that stands out from the rest. That one player that fans would want up to bat in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th with runners in scoring position. The Athletics lack that type of player. They had that last year with Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss, who all made late inning magic on any given night.
Call to the Pen
Although the A’s go out each and every night trying to win games, things just aren’t clicking. They’re only major RBI threats are Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt. Those two are fan favorites and solid players, but they aren’t equal to a Pujols/Trout combination or a Correa/Altuve combination from the Astros. Keep in mind this group of Athletics are still professionals and they play to win every night no matter what they’re record is. No A’s fan wants to hear the word “rebuild”, but that sounds like it is exactly what the front office is thinking and based on their current roster that looks to be accurate. It’s crazy to think Oakland is already in rebuilding stages after having one of the best young lineups in baseball the last few years. It hurts to think about. They need to have a very productive offseason with smart moves. A lot of younger players are auditioning for next year. Right now, the A’s are looking for those guys to step up and show they belong in this league. The Oakland Athletics need to focus on narrowing the gap between the rest of the division in order to compete in 2016.