Astros: Gauging the AL West as the offseason simmers
Following a last place finish in 2017, the A’s caught the baseball world by storm in 2018 with 97 wins. Although their season ended on a disappointing note to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game, the future is bright for Oakland. Matt Chapman finished the season as one of the best players in baseball. Blake Treinan was incredible as the A’s best reliever. While the starting rotation fell apart towards the end of the season, it did an admirable job keeping their team in ballgames.
Areas to address: Starting pitcher, middle infielder
When the 2018 season ended, there wasn’t one A’s pitcher who was considered a qualifying starter. Only three pitchers topped 100 innings for Oakland: Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, and Trevor Cahill. And the A’s front office led by Billy Beane may not have the financial backing to spend big dollars on a starter like Keuchel or Patrick Corbin. Instead, I’d look for Oakland to find some cheaper alternatives that offer upside. If Manaea and a few other starters within the organization progress, the starting rotation may not remain an issue in 2019. Another area for the A’s to address could likely be the middle infield as Jed Lowrie is now a free agent.
The A’s lineup should remain a quality one, even if Lowrie signs elsewhere. Like all of the teams in the AL West this offseason, the pitching staff is likely Oakland’s top priority.