A slow offseason could bode well for the Oakland A’s as they look to rebuild their roster in the wake of their own free agent departures.
The expectation was that the Oakland A’s roster would look dramatically different on Opening Day in 2021. Ten players had entered free agency, leading to the probability of a great deal of roster turnover. A new middle infield, a starting left fielder, and rebuilding the bullpen are all on the docket.
Despite those openings, the A’s were expected to look to fill majority of those holes internally. They have several candidates to take over in the outfield, with prospects Seth Brown and Luis Barrera seemingly ready for an every day role. The bullpen could be filled out with prospects and Rule V draftee Dany Jimenez. A.J. Puk is lined up to take over that fifth starter role.
Regardless of how many prospects the A’s can bring up, they were still expected to dabble in free agency. The odd bargain signing late in February could bolster the roster and prove to be just what the A’s needed in their quest to repeat in the AL West.
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But that would be in a normal offseason. With the majority of the teams facing financial limitations, free agency has moved at a glacial pace. Only a handful of the top 50 free agents have signed, and while the market should pick up in the coming weeks, players are going to start to be desperate to find their home for 2021.
This could work to the A’s advantage. As opposed to hoping for a player or two to fall through the cracks, they may be able to fill out their roster on a budget. After all, the A’s are one of the few teams in need of a shortstop this offseason, and with a plethora of relief options on the market, the A’s bullpen could once again be a strength in the coming season.
Obviously, other teams have this same mindset. For the most part, there is a great deal of patience being shown during the offseason as teams are waiting for the players to cave in. Those bidding wars may happen anyway.
But the longer that free agency drags on, the better the chances are that the Oakland A’s can find the players they need. The slow offseason could be a major help for their 2021 chances.