The Oakland A’s are in a position that few other teams have been in.
Even rebuilding teams have guaranteed money on the books in coming years. Maybe those are expiring contracts or deals that they were unable to unload during their firesales. However, it is just a given that someone, on every team, will have guaranteed money for a future year.
Oakland A’s have blank salary slate for next season
However, that is not the case for the A’s. Chad Pinder is the only player who is continuing his career that is eligible for free agency on the roster. The rest of the players? At best, they are in arbitration, and only Tony Kemp is entering his final year of team control. This means that the A’s do not have a single guaranteed contract for 2023.
For any normal team, that would be a golden opportunity. The A’s have plenty of holes everywhere on their roster and would be able to add pieces with impunity. But that is not going to be the case with the A’s, where even the idea of signing a reclamation project to a respectable contract is a foreign concept.
It is not a given that all of those arbitration eligible players will be on the roster either. Sean Murphy is going to be traded in the offseason and may be their best trade chip. Ramon Laureano may be coming off of a down season and has battled injuries, but viable center fielders are few and far between. Kemp could find himself on the move as well given his versatility. And it is difficult to imagine that the A’s will keep Billy McKinney (minors) or Deolis Garcia (injured) for another trek through arbitration.
There have been teams that have pared payroll down to the point where individual players on other teams make more than their entire roster. However, there has never been a team that has had their entire roster make the league minimum. If the A’s look to slash payroll even further during the offseason, they may well be the first.
The Oakland A’s do not have a single guaranteed contract on the books for 2023. Depending on offseason moves, their entire roster could make the minimum.