Even though the MLB postseason is far from over, there are already some trade rumors swirling around. For those teams that are not in the playoffs like the Oakland Athletics, it is time to start thinking about the 2016 season and what can be done to better the team. One area that needs dire help is the A’s bullpen.
The Athletics’ bullpen was the worst in the league this year. From injuries to inconsistent outings, the relief staff just could not get it together. Sean Doolittle is pretty much the only reliever who will most definitely be in the bullpen come 2016. The rest of the spots are pretty much up for grabs.
Even though Oakland wants to build from within this offseason, they should consider looking elsewhere for at least one strong arm. Rumors have recently surfaced that the Cincinnati Reds are looking to trade relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman since his successful 2015 season will likely bring a handful of hot young players over to Cincinnati. The A’s are in need of a strong arm, but should they go after Chapman?
Chapman would definitely bolster the bullpen. This season, he had a 1.63 ERA with 116 strikeouts over 66.1 innings pitched and a 1.15 WHIP. Chapman also has 33 saves with only three blown save opportunities. Lastly, he only allowed three homers this entire season. With such good numbers this year, it is shocking to think that he was even better in 2014.
Additionally, the Reds are looking for starting pitching. Well, as it turns out, the Oakland Athletics have a surplus of starters both in the Major and Minor Leagues – especially if Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are healthy come 2016. That surplus came in handy this season because of all of the injuries that the rotation incurred, but are the A’s really going to need that many starting pitchers for 2016? The Athletics’ could spare a few in order to acquire a quality arm that would undoubtedly help the bullpen.
However, it must be noted that Chapman has been a full time closer since 2012. If the A’s were to acquire Chapman, what would happen to Doolittle? Additionally, Oakland is building for the future and are not keen on trading away a bunch of their prospects. Chapman will probably come at a steep price – a price that may be too high for the A’s. Lastly, Chapman will be a free agent in 2017 and the Athletics probably want a more long term solution for their bullpen.
Ultimately, Chapman would be a nice addition, but the Oakland Athletics do not need a closer as of right now. The A’s should look for some cheaper relievers who are lesser known but have a consistent track record. Consistency in the bullpen will be key for the A’s in 2016.