The Optimistic Side of the Coin
Scott Harris: Although Billy Beane has tempered expectations for next season by saying it will be a rebuilding year, we will still start off the 2016 season with a very strong starting rotation which has been the key to the successful Beane teams of the past. If unproven starters such as Chris Bassitt, and possibly Sean Nolin can build upon their 2015 season, the A’s might be able to surprise many in the West.
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Rebuilding a disappointing bullpen is not as daunting as adding a middle-of-the-lineup bat so I believe the A’s can mend much of what went wrong in 2015 without breaking the bank.
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Cisco Perez: I don’t believe the A’s are that far away from contending in 2016. The A’s should be getting help in their rotation by adding Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin. They can shift all financial resources to rebuilding the bullpen. Aside from Dull and Doolittle, the whole bullpen will need to be rebuilt. Offensively the A’s have a good core coming back. Josh Reddick, Billy Butler, Stephen Vogt and Brett Lawrie should be a good core to build around. I think Butler will have a bounce back year and with additions of minor leaguers (Joey Wendle and Matt Olson), the A’s should be a decent offensive team next season. As far as the AL West goes, the league is always tough. The Mariners should be better this season but are still short a couple bullpen arms. The Rangers will be tougher as they will have Yu Darvish back, and a full year of Cole Hamels. The Astros will have a tough time repeating the success they have had this year. The Angels, in my opinion, are just getting older.
I think the A’s can get 85-90 wins this year. That should be good enough to start contending.
Next: Contention Is Possible, But Not Probable