Finances will not be an excuse for the Oakland A’s as they look ahead.
Typically, when it comes to the Oakland A’s and free agency, the Oakland A’s are not overly active. They will sign the occasional player, provided they fit into their budget, but prefer to build from within. The prospects are vital parts of the franchise, with Oakland moving more expensive players to replenish the pipeline.
It fits the narrative for the A’s. They are a small market team, dealing with a limited budget that forces them to sit on the sidelines while other teams fight over prized free agents. Certain salary thresholds are beyond their capability, with players being dealt away once those levels are met.
However, that should not be the case going forward. The A’s have a young team, with numerous players that are either just about to enter arbitration or not yet eligible. This gives Oakland plenty of payroll flexibility, as they have just $28 million committed in salary for the 2021 season.
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That number decreases even further in 2022. With Khris Davis‘ $16 million coming off the books, and a buyout of Jake Diekman‘s option, the A’s have just $8 million in salary committed. Of course, arbitration and pay raises will eat up some of that room, but the A’s have quite the maneuverability going forward.
It could not happen at a better time. The A’s are still envisioning their new ballpark at Howard Terminal, but still have a long way to go before it becomes a reality. After the debacle where the team tried to not pay their minor leaguers, that battle may have become even harder. Some good publicity would go a long way.
That would start in the free agent market or in extending their players. Signing Matt Olson and Matt Chapman to long term deals, making them the next faces of the franchise, would help. As would extending Marcus Semien, or Ramon Laureno, or either of their expected future aces in Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk.
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The Oakland A’s budget will not be an excuse in the coming years. It is time to open the vault, and start paying for goodwill.