A.L. West Prediction: Oakland Athletics

OK. Last year wasn’t the year for the A’s demise. Is this the year?

Oakland Athletics fans have to feel like a spouse who keeps waiting for the other half to pack up and leave town. So many times in the past the A’s looked like they had one more shot at a championship. Instead, fans we’re treated to the trades of their best players at the All-Star break. Last year the A’s didn’t trade two of their best players and were rewarded with a playoff win. However, those players: Khris Davis and Marcus Semien are now gone. The Athletics “tried to keep“ Semien by offering him a 10-year contract at $1 million a year. Depending on your love of trying to hit home runs at the Colosseum -which doesn’t give up any cheapies- I can’t imagine too many players being eager to stay for full price much less a 90-percent discount. The rest of the A’s have to be wondering why they’re playing for an organization that would make such an offer. Of course, Bobby Bonilla is still collecting checks from the New York Mets, soooo…

The good news for A’s fans is third baseman Matt Chapman is back from injury as is utility guy Jed Lowrie. He’s solid. Chapman has the tools to put together a five or six year run of greatness. Stephen Piscotty is also back. Outfielder Mark Canha has tremendous power but he’s only played in 120 games three times since 2015. Chad Pinder is a nice, serviceable utility guy. Elvis Andrus is a pro’s pro but, man, he struggled in 2020 (.194 average). Speaking of plummeting averages, Oakland has to be worried about first baseman Matt Olson. He’s starting to remind me of Rob Deer.

On the mound they are hoping Jesus Luzardo can return the form. Sean Manaea looked like a Cy Young Award winner in 2019 when he posted a 1.29 ERA in his first five games and then got hurt. The jury is still out as to whether he is recovered from that injury. Frankie Montas looks like a fifth starter. To say Cole Irvin has struggled is putting it mildly (6.89 career ERA in 20 games). Trevor Rosenthal will be solid in relief when he gets off of the injured list. So will Yusmeiro Petit, JB Wendelken and Adam Kolarek. But who is the ace? That’s the real problem with this team. If there is no number-one starter and if Chris Bassitt doesn’t equal his career best they don’t have a number two, either. I’m not sure how this team is going to win games. Oh, wait. They’re in the American League West. That’s how.

The team is OK offensively. The starting pitching is a potential dumpster fire. There’s nobody on the 40 man roster gives me any hope that they’re going to come out of nowhere and become a number one or number two starter.

This is the Oakland A’s were talking about and they’re famous for tearing down teams and then rebuilding. Here’s the thing, though. They have three of the worst teams in all of baseball in one division as near-daily competition. Any other division, this team wins 60 games.

This year: 87 WINS.

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