Oakland Athletics: Tinkering around the edges may be enough
By David Hill
As per usual, the Oakland Athletics tinkered around the edges of their roster. That may be enough to win the American League West.
It has been an exciting offseason in the American League West. The defending AL West champion Astros were hammered by commissioner Rob Manfred due to their cheating scandal. The Rangers completely rebuilt their rotation, with the acquisition of Corey Kluber considered their biggest coup. Anthony Rendon signed with the Angels, and they also revamped their rotation. Even the Mariners made several moves, mainly because Jerry Dipoto cannot stop overhauling his roster.
The Oakland Athletics? They had their normal quiet offseason. The biggest free agent signing was another bullpen arm, with Jake Diekman inking a two year deal worth $7.5 million. There was the usual flurry of minor league signings and minor trades, with Tony Kemp and Ryan Goins being the most notable of those moves.
During a turbulent offseason, the A’s stayed the course. They held true to their philosophy, looking to rely upon their young core and tinker around the edges as they look to ascend to the AL West title. Those moves may be enough.
The AL West, as noted above, has faced a great deal of turmoil. The Astros lost Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley in free agency, and have an ailing Justin Verlander. While the Rangers upgraded their rotation, the bullpen is suspect, and they have holes at first and center to figure out. The Angels slapped another Band-Aid on their rotation, hoping that Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran can be enough. Meanwhile, Griffin Canning is deal with arm injuries and Shohei Ohtani is returning from Tommy Joh surgery.
The A’s, on the other hand, appear to have all systems ready to go. Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk (with his own when healthy caveat) are ready to join Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas as part of a formidable rotation. Liam Hendriks was a revelation as a closer, while Diekman, Joakim Soria, and J.B. Wendelken should comprise a solid trio to bridge the gap from the rotation.
Offensively, the A’s do have a question mark at second base. The quartet of Kemp, Jorge Mateo, Franklin Barreto, and Vimael Machin have not exactly found sustained success. However, the remainder of the lineup is more than enough to make up for any deficiencies, especially if Khris Davis returns to form.
The Oakland Athletics had their usual quiet offseason, tinkering around the edges of the roster. In the end, that may be enough to take home the division.