A new year means a new start for an Oakland Athletics ball club who finished the 2015 season with a 68-94 record, en route to a last place finish in the American League West – something they have not endured since 2009 and prior to that in 1998, when Billy Beane succeeded Sandy Alderson as the new General Manager of the A’s.
Despite the fact that the green and gold finished 14th in Major League baseball in runs scored and 9th overall in the American League, their offensive production was not enough to carry an Athletics’ bullpen who allowed the opposition to score 411 times out of 664 (61.89%), thus explaining their uncanny 19-35 record in one-run games. Of those 411 runs surrendered, 17 hurlers possessed an earned run average of four or higher with a minimum of 95 innings pitched, which is a major concern when you factor in that Ike Davis and Angel Castro were the best options out of Oakland’s relief corps.
Once the 2015 season wrapped up, the A’s front office didn’t hesitate to revamp their bullpen — and proved so by acquiring several veteran arms such as right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks from the Toronto Blue Jays and south paw Marc Rzepczynski from the San Diego Padres. Lets not forget the free agent signings new A’s GM David Forst conducted by agreeing to terms with John Axford, Rich Hill (who will be inserted into the starting rotation), and Ryan Madson, who contributed to a Kansas City Royals’ championship for the first time in 30 years.
For the Athletics to have a successful 2016 campaign, here are five factors that could potentially increase their chances over the six-month stretch. On paper, the green and gold posses an above-average pitching staff with an average offense. However, with a few adjustments here-and-there, there is no reason why Oakland cannot contend in 2016 and for future seasons to come.
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