Even with the Oakland A’s numerous free agents and financial concerns, they are still in the driver’s seat when it comes to the AL West.
There is a degree of trepidation surrounding the Oakland A’s this offseason. They have ten free agents from the 2020 roster, and it is expected that they will not be spending. Due to those openings, the A’s need to find a starting infield, an outfielder, and at least four pieces for the bullpen. That is not a shopping list that would fill any fanbase with confidence.
And yet, the A’s play in a division that is filled with question marks in the AL West. Although Oakland has a team that is in transition, the same can be said about the rest of the division. The Rangers are in full blown rebuilding mode, and should not be a threat for years to come.
The Seattle Mariners made a surprise run towards the postseason last year, but that was due to the nature of the rest of the division. While there are reasons for the Mariners to be excited about the future, they do not have all the pieces needed yet. Seattle may be a threat, but that time has yet to come.
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The Los Angeles Angels certainly have the type of lineup that could be a threat to win the AL West, but that has been the case in years past as well. As is always the case, they are in desperate need of pitching, especially in the starting rotation. While Los Angeles has taken steps to improving the bullpen by acquiring Raisel Iglesias, that is not nearly enough.
Then there are the Astros. The team that snuck into the postseason, and somehow eliminated the A’s. If anything, they are in a worse position than Oakland, as they need to replace their entire outfield, find multiple pieces for the bullpen, and patch together a starting rotation. And they are also attempting to do that on a budget.
While the A’s farm system is not what it was, they still have plenty of pieces that can help fill the gaps. A.J. Puk, if healthy, will round out the rotation. Several outfielders could vie for the open spot in left field. Oakland should be able to find some bargains for the bullpen in free agency, and if Puk is unable to continue as a starter, he could fill a void there as well.
The Oakland A’s have numerous holes on the roster and plenty of financial concerns. Nonetheless, they remain the team to beat in the AL West at this point in time.