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A’s hoping to parlay steady off-season into greener pastures

BY GRADY DUGGAN

Current Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch said it perfectly at the Oakland City Council, “We’re losing the Raiders, we’re losing the Warriors, best not lose the A’s. Appreciate it.” Coming out of what was one of the more exciting seasons in recent years, the Athletics enter an interesting time for the franchise. As the city of Oakland verges on two out of three professional sports teams’ departures becoming reality, it is the perfect time for the A’s to harness Oakland’s tough times.

That will be a head scratcher for most. The Oakland Coliseum isn’t exactly the most appealing ball park to watch a game in. The A’s have struggled for years to get a new stadium that the fanbase can be excited about. First it was San Jose, then it was Fremont; however, the current proposal at Howard Terminal might be exactly what this organization should push for. With a rising roster, the state-of-the-art stadium at Howard Terminal right in the heart of Jack London Square would be the perfect rejuvenating kick this city, and team, needs.

However, while assessing the current state of the Oakland A’s, the stadium isn’t the only thing to consider. The state of any organization rides largely on one thing: the roster they put out on the field. For the first time in several years, the team must sustain consistent success. You aren’t going to find any big-name players on the A’s. No Mike Trout, no Jose Altuve, just Khris Davis and Company.

The Athletics made their way to the American League Wild Card game with clutch hitting, especially power, and a dominating bullpen. Not only did Davis blast 49 home runs, a number that hasn’t been reached since Mark McGwire two decades earlier, four other A’s also slugged over 20 homers. Players like Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty, and Matt Chapman were all key components to the A’s resurgence.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
If Blake Treinen can repeat his 2018 dominance closing games out of the bullpen, the A’s prospects for returning to the post-season are strong.

The A’s offense was anchored by the backend of their pitching staff; the bullpen. Closer Blake Treinen put up an impressive 0.78 ERA along with Lou Trivino’s 2.92 ERA. This offseason you would have expected the A’s to add pieces and build around the core that’s already in place.

To continue this success, the Oakland A’s needed to have an active offseason. Something you would think is a no-brainer for a team coming off a 97-win season. Their starting pitching wasn’t terrible, but for a team looking to make a deep playoff push their staff’s 4.16 runs per game isn’t going to cut it.

After losing ace Sean Manaea to Tommy John surgery in September, the starting rotation is the part of the roster the front office needs to bolster the most. They have attempted to address this issue in the offseason by re-signing Mike Fiers, who is coming off one of his best seasons in years.

Joakim Soria was also picked up to help offset the loss of Jeurys Familia as set-up man. Oakland will look for these two to help lead the rotation in 2019. While the A’s few moves will likely help them in various ways next year, it seems as if they are doubling down with what they have in-house and hoping those players continue performing at a high level.

2019 could end up being a very pivotal season for the Athletics organization. With one of the more exciting rosters in the Majors, this is the perfect opportunity for them to build off last year’s success, all while reclaiming their fanbase. Success this coming season could help catapult a city-wide push for the Howard Terminal stadium proposal, which would without a doubt be the monumental moment this organization has been building toward for years. After several years of struggling, the Athletics look to be heading in the right direction despite their modest offseason moves.

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