2007 Oakland Athletics Baseball Preview
Ace Barry Zito took his arm to San Francisco and Frank Thomas took his bat to Toronto, but the Oakland Athletics (93- 69), who have made the playoffs three of the past five seasons, still look good. That is, if their rotation can stay healthy.
The A’s starters are questionable. First, RHP Rich Harden (4- 0, 4.24 ERA) must remain injury free. If he does, he has the potential to be the club’s ace. RHP Dan Haren (14- 13, 4.12 ERA) and RHP Esteban Loazia (11- 9, 4.89 ERA) have solid potential, while RHP Joe Blanton (16- 12, 4.82 ERA) will be instrumental if he can lower his ERA. There are some good set-up guys and closer Huston Street (4- 4, 3.31 ERA, 37 SV) continues to be sound.
Mike Piazza (.283 AVG, 68 RBI, 22 HR) has been signed as the DH to replace Thomas, while catcher Jason Kendall(.295 AVG, 50 RBI, 1 HR) leads off. Third baseman Eric Chavez (.241 AVG, 71 RBI, 22 HR) and outfielder Milton Bradley (.276 AVG, 52 RBI, 14 HR) both suffered at the plate due to injuries in 2006. They must stay healthy.
Third baseman Chavez won is sixth straight Gold Glove, while shortstop Bobby Crosby and second baseman Mark Ellis make a dynamic duo. Catcher Jason Kendall has improved defensively and calls a good game; in the outfield center fielder Mark Kotsay is a great playmaker. This is a good “D.”
Billy Beane, perhaps the most talked about GM in the majors, is at the center of all the moves this club makes both on and off the field. Manager Ken Macha, who was fired despite winning the division last season, has been replaced by A’s bench coach Bob Geren.
First, second or third? If it’s not first, it won’t matter much since chances of the Wild Card coming from the West are extremely slim. This team has been thinned out over the years, especially on the mound. It will be an uphill battle to win the division.
For more info on Oakland check out the MLB website for the Athletics Clubhouse.