Grading the Oakland Athletics offseason so far

Despite a historically bad year in 2023, the Athletics aren't approaching this offseason with any urgency
Boston Red Sox v Oakland A's
Boston Red Sox v Oakland A's / David Madison/GettyImages

On Friday afternoon, Jim Bowden of The Athletic ($) released his updated off-season grades for all 30 major league teams. He gave the Athletics a D, stating that the bottom-tier free agent signings don't move the needle enough for a team coming off a 112-loss season.

Bowden evaluated the Athletics based on the signings of right-handers Osvaldo Bido and Trevor Gott, and Rule 5 pick Mitch Spence. He either doesn't know that the A's traded for Abraham Toro and claimed Miguel Andujar and Michael Kelly off waivers, or doesn't think those moves warrant mentioning.

Based on Bowden not mentioning the Toro trade under the Brewers grade, I'll guess the former but it is what it is. Bowden also does not include minor league signings, as most of those guys will have limited impact at the major league level this year.

The fact of the matter is that Bowden isn't wrong about what the A's have done. It's been a fairly inconsequential offseason for David Forst and company as the organization treads water coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history. 2023 was only the third time since the Athletics moved to Oakland that the team has lost 100 games in a season, never mind doing it in back-to-back years.

And in spite of that, the A's have done the bare minimum, keeping payroll as tight as possible in anticipation of spending what resources they do have on the $45 million stadium buyout and trying to finance their portion of the Las Vegas relocation.

As it stands, Toro will likely get the bulk of the reps at third base to start the year, and Andujar most likely gets worked into a platoon role with JJ Bleday in an outfield corner spot. Bido could find himself in the rotation at the beginning of the season, especially with the health of Ken Waldichuk still up in the air. Gott should see time in the later innings, and Spence should work in low-leverage spots out of the bullpen.

It's possible that a couple of the guys who the A's signed to minor league contracts this winter have an impact on the major league squad but it feels like a stretch to think any of them make the opening day roster coming out of spring training.

There are still some obvious weak spots for the A's as they head into the spring. There are a couple of flier guys that might work in the rotation but there's very limited top end talent. JP Sears and Paul Blackburn are nice pitchers but not guys you'd want headlining your rotation on a contending team.

Additionally, the shortstop job is still up for grabs and it's unclear at this point who will back up Shea Langeliers behind the plate. Darell Hernaiz should get some run at the six and Aledmys Diaz is still getting paid. Maybe instead of signing a transient veteran catcher, they'll plug in one of Kyle McCann or Yohel Pozo, but neither are on the 40-man. It's just difficult to get excited about this roster in its current condition.

We'll have to wait and see if Forst makes any additional moves to get the full picture but as it stands, I'm going to have to agree with Bowden on this one. A D grade feels generous but we're just considering the on-field moves. If we're adding in all of the relocation drama, then it's much worse than it seems.