Looking into the future of the Oakland Athletics, we all know that Mr. Moneyball – Billy Beane – will not hesitate to shake things up over the off-season. There are several players available next year that he should consider picking up. If that means spending a little more money to do so, then he should do it! Many former A’s fan-favorites are out there for the taking and would be fun to see in a green and yellow jersey again.
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A few of the players on this list would be having Oakland Athletics’ reunions, which would clearly make the fans happy and keep the seats filled after a rough 2015 season. Starting with…a familiar starting pitcher: Call me crazy, but how fun would it be to see the 42-year-old Bartolo Colon finish his career in Oakland. If you watch ESPN, every fifth day you can count on seeing a Colon highlight. Every team needs to get younger, but when you can bring in his “young” attitude combined with his experience, you have to do it – especially since he still plays for a contender and is making strong contributions to the team’s success.
Another veteran and big game pitcher is John Lackey, who is having a stellar season – posting a 2.87 ERA this year at the age of 36. He would be helpful to any rotation in baseball because of his experience and poise. The A’s can go younger, too, as Jordan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals is also out there, and we’ve all seen what he can do. He has accomplished a lot already in his young career, and even though he is having a sub-par year, it could actually work in the A’s favor by lowering his price. Zimmerman would be a great option to pitch alongside Sonny Gray and wouldn’t come with as lofty of a price tag as someone like Lackey.
Of course, the Athletics’ pitching wasn’t the issue this season – it was mostly timely hitting and bullpen help. The bullpen needs some fresh arms, and a perfect addition would be Tony Sipp, from the rival Houston Astros. Sipp is a great left handed option to bring in. The A’s really lacked a lefty specialist this season. The only real option the team had this year was Fernando Abad, who took a big step back from his stellar season last year. Getting Sean Doolittle back healthy will help tremendously in strengthening the Oakland bullpen, but free agents will also be necessary.
The Athletics have some young players to build the team around but the one player that they need to bring back to get the fans fired up – and to help win – is Yoenis Cespedes. That signing is obviously a long shot. Not only does he have one of the best gloves in baseball, but he is having the best season of his career even after being on 4 teams in a year. He was well-respected in the locker room, and if you look at the A’s fans at the Coliseum on game day, about half of them still wear their Cespedes jersey’s. Jason Heyward from the St. Louis Cardinals is out there, too. He brings a lot to the table: he can run, throw, hit some long balls, and he’s having a good season, hitting .287 for the Cardinals.
Call to the Pen
The infield is anyone’s guess for the offseason, but one option is to move Marcus Semien away from an everyday role. He could be a utility man, similar to the role he had in Chicago, and the A’s could move the sure-handed Eric Sogard to shortstop. There have been way too many sloppy defensive plays in the infield, excluding Ike Davis and Sogard.
This current roster never gelled together like most winning ball clubs do. The togetherness just wasn’t there. As fans, we don’t always know what’s going on behind closed doors, but it was obvious that the team didn’t click very well on the field. There is no doubt that in previous years, their body language and chemistry was a lot stronger than in 2015.
At this point, it’s too early to know what Beane will do, but the A’s should look at signing a few players who can help going into next season, to avoid having another disappointing year like the one they’re currently experiencing. A complete roster makeover isn’t necessary, but there are some guys sitting out there that Beane needs to take a look at acquiring. With that being said, he might have to dig a little deeper into his pockets this offseason to bring back a winning roster.