In theory, the Oakland A’s are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the American League West. While they are dealing with numerous holes due to free agency, the rest of the division was also dealing with their own defections. The A’s were still in strong shape to take the division for a second consecutive year.
Oakland received more good news when George Springer signed with the Blue Jays. One of the top players on the Astros had departed, making their path even easier. However, that signing caused Houston to spring into action. They swooped in to bring Michael Brantley back after he appeared destined to join Springer in Toronto, then signed Jason Castro to a two year deal.
Oakland A’s still have work to do
On their own, those moves would not exactly move the needle. But Houston also upgraded their bullpen this offseason, adding Pedro Baez and Ryne Stanek. Again, those moves do not move the needle on their own, but added to Brantley and Castro returning to the Astros, they make the team better.
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That causes a problem for the A’s. Although they are still a better team than the Astros at this point, that gap is closing. Likewise, the Angels are looking to improve, and have also made moves to supplement their pitching staff. The A’s margin for error is narrowing as it gets closer to spring training.
These additions put pressure on the A’s to do something. The team has been linked to several players lately, with rumors swirling about Marcus Semien and Andrew Benintendi. However, nothing has yet to happen on the roster aside from Rule V Draftees and a trade for a Nik Turley. That is not close to enough.
Oakland still has time to improve their roster. Enough free agents are available where they can supplement their core. But the Astros and Angels are both improving their rosters this offseason with an eye towards the postseason. This is not a time for complacency.
The Oakland A’s need to start making moves. Otherwise, they could be left behind in the AL West.