Oakland A’s still have strong core to build around
By David Hill
For all the gnashing of teeth and concern about free agency, the Oakland A’s still have an excellent core to build a contender around.
The Oakland A’s are not exactly in an enviable spot this offseason. As has been well documented, they have ten free agents and do not have a lot of money to spend. The middle of their infield, a starting outfielder, and their closer, amongst other pieces, are likely to depart to other teams.
With those expected defections, it is easy to forecast doom and gloom for the A’s for the upcoming season. Few, if any, teams could handle that many losses and remain competitive. This is especially the case for a team that is likely to scrape the bottom of the free agent barrel.
But this focus on the A’s losses detracts from looking at what they actually have on the roster. The A’s still have a strong core, and one that is under team control for the next few years. The roster may look much different, but most of the key pieces will remain in place.
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There are plenty of solid arms on the pitching staff, particularly in the rotation. Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, and Jesus Luzardo are all still young, while Chris Bassitt had a career year in 2020. If A.J. Puk can stay healthy, which is not even close to a given, then the A’s would potentially have a formidable starting five.
Oakland’s lineup also has its share of building blocks. Ramon Laureano took a step backwards last season, but could still be a star. Both Matt Chapman and Matt Olson have established themselves as excellent players. Sean Murphy has five more years of team control and gives the A’s an excellent catcher for the future.
Yes, the A’s have a lot of work that needs to be done. They need to find a closer, a new middle to their infield, and to rebuild their bullpen. But the cupboard is not barren. The A’s still have an excellent core, and one that will be around for a few more years.
The Oakland A’s can still contend in 2021 even if they make a series of smaller moves. Their core is strong enough to keep them in the hunt.