If there was any one team that was a big disappointment, even possibly a choke in 2014, it was the Oakland Athletics.
General manager Billy Beane brought in an immense amount of talent and All-Stars after adding an extra $20 million to their payroll last offseason. However, the result wasn’t even close to what anyone expected. Oakland went from World Series favorites, holding onto the lead in the American League West for the first half of the season, to famously imploding in August, to barely making it into the AL Wild Card game where they would lose to the eventual American League champion Kansas City Royals after finishing 88-74 in the regular season, their first time finishing with less than 90 wins in three years.
Even after acquiring All-Star pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester, the A’s still couldn’t make it to the Fall Classic in their third straight trip to the postseason.
So what did Beane and company do this offseason? Sell everyone!
The A’s offseason was probably the busiest in the majors. Oakland made nine transactions that involved 27 players. These transactions involved trading away a majority of the A’s All-Stars like Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss after trading away Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox during the trade deadline.
It’s already obvious that 2015 will be an interesting year for the Oakland A’s. For the first time since 2012 they are not the defending AL West champions, nor are they a guaranteed playoff favorite. Nobody’s connecting them to a World Series and now nobody is expecting much from them. However, it’s worth considering that when the A’s shocked everyone in 2012 by winning the division, they were in a similar situation – underdog talent that somehow was able to pull together – and they were actually pretty good for a while.
The question now is, are we getting the non-playoff A’s in 2015? Or are we getting the surprising underdog A’s in 2015?
Next: Key additions/subtractions