Oakland A’s: Is it time to consider a fire sale?
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s are seemingly in an enviable position. They have a strong young core to build around with several intriguing young arms on the cusp of reaching the majors. With the right moves, the A’s could be a contender for the next few years.
Unfortunately, that does not appear as though it will be the case. Ownership is refusing to spend this offseason, claiming that they do not have any money to spend in free agency. With ten open spots on the roster, and a thinning system, the A’s ability to supplement that core is questionable at best.
Will financial woes spur Oakland A’s fire sale?
Under normal circumstances, a fire sale would be the last thing on the mind of the A’s. But under normal circumstances, even the normally frugal owners would have been able to do something this offseason beyond signing minor league depth at catcher and acquiring fringe lefties.
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Players such as Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are going to get expensive, especially as they have just entered arbitration for the first time. Mark Canha is due $6.92 million and is a free agent once the season comes to an end; he could be an attractive trade chip for a team needing outfield help. Both Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt have one more year of arbitration left. Jake Diekman may be the nominal closer, but he is also a potential free agent after this year.
To this point, there is no indication that the A’s financial situation is that dire. However, a slow start to the season could lead to ownership putting pressure on the front office to cut payroll. This could lead to those players who would be a cornerstone almost anywhere else being traded away.
The start of the 2021 season may be of the utmost importance in regards to keeping this core together. Should the A’s struggle in the first half of the season, and be languishing in the middle of the AL West, dramatic changes could be coming. That fire sale that seemed so unlikely at the end of the 2020 season could actually happen.
The Oakland A’s financial woes could spur changes if the team gets off to a slow start. A fire sale may not be coming just yet, but that could be revisited around the trade deadline.