2010 Oakland Athletics Baseball Preview
The Oakland Athletics (75-87) have certainly fallen off the map since 2006, which is when they last took the West and made the playoffs. The old days of putting together a roster that performed at peak efficiency seem to have gone by the wayside as each of the past three seasons this franchise has finished anywhere from 18 to 24.5 games out of first.
It would be comforting if the thin starting rotation included someone who had a winning record last year, but the best that the Athletics can do is Brett Anderson (11-11, 4.06 ERA, 150 SO), who posted equal numbers in the win and loss columns. The good news is that in his rookie season last year, Anderson proved that he can compete and keep his focus and cool. He’s a smart guy with good stuff. Righty Trevor Cahill (10-13, 4.63 BA, 90 SO) also had good numbers and performed well in his initial season in the majors. Along with an 88- 92-mph fastball, he’s got some good breaking pitches.
The rest of the rotation either did not play last season due to health problems or they were shut down because of injuries. Vin Mazzaro, Dallas Braden and Justin Duchscherer are all attempting to stay in the mix this season. Of the three, the youthful Mazzaro (4- 9, 5.32 ERA, 59 SO), with has a mix of pitches, has the best chance of making an impact. Closer Andrew Bailey (6-3, 2.59 ERA, 26 SV, 91 SO) is a converted starter who has the right stuff. He’s challenges hitters and has good command of his fastball, curve and cutter.
A major problem for Oakland is that one guy hit .300 and one other was in the .290s. Additionally, of those coming back, there’s no real clout at the plate. The major offensive thrust was from Rajai Davis (.305 BA, 3 HR, 48 RBI) and Ryan Sweeney (.293 BA, 6 HR, 53 RBI). Davis, who also stole 41 bases, showed marked improvement at the plate. Sweeney, who is also a solid fielder, offers good plate coverage and a sweet swing. Third baseman/DH Eric Chavez (.100 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI) has unlimited potential but has delivered in only a limited manner. Catcher Kurt Suzuki (.274 BA, 15 HR, 88 RBI) can make adjustments at the plate and is a sound line drive hitter. He’s also a good backstop.
GMs, like players and managers, have their heyday and then they are yesterday’s news. Is that what has happened with Moneyball guru and Oakland GM Billy Beane? Unfortunately, when you reinvent baseball, there’s always someone else in the wings reinventing it again and taking any edge you created away from you. Beane really put together teams that could overall compete in the division and not in the league. Oakland has not won a pennant in 20 years and a World Series in 21. Since 2000, they’ve won four West titles. That’s it.
Manager Bob Geren is pretty much the puppet of Beane and with
a club that has no room for error, it would be fairer for the
GM to throw on a uniform and manage. The payroll is small, the
homegrown talent is questionable and the marquee player, Chavez,
is an injury waiting to happen. If one prediction is just about
guaranteed for the West, it’s that this team will finish
in last place.
For more info on Oakland check out the MLB website for the Athletics Clubhouse.