It isn’t that the Oakland Athletics couldn’t hit last season, it’s that they couldn’t hit consistently. Only Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson hit above .290 for the majority of the year while the rest of the everyday starters posted batting averages under .270.
The lack of consistency showed in the playoffs, as nobody could be counted on to get hits in key situations.
This offseason the Athletics must focus their time and money on improving their lineup.
Of course, the A’s do not have the payroll to seriously contend for the top hitters in free agency (Robinson Cano, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury), but they have always been able to find players that have more value than their price tag suggests.
Here are a few hitters that could be great fits for the Athletics:
The Athletics have somewhat surprisingly shown interest in Nelson Cruz. There is no question that Cruz would bolster the A’s lineup; he hit .266 with 27 home runs in 2013, while also being suspeneded for 50 games. This is exactly the kind of hitter the Athletics need, an anchor in the lineup that hits for great power and good average.
The issue here is money. The Mariners, Phillies, and the Mets have also shown interest in Cruz. With the Athletics’ lack of spending power, Nelson’s price tag may ultimately get too high for him to be a realistic signing.
By signing Nick Punto, the A’s have given themselves a plethora of options in the middle infield. However, Omar Infante is a perfect fit for the Oakland Athletics. He has been one of the most consistent hitters in the MLB throughout his career, and hasn’t hit under .270 since 2005.
The Oakland Athletics need someone who can start rallies and then keep them going. They need someone who can hit well in clutch situations. Omar Infante is this guy.
The A’s would most likely have to pay around $7 million for multiple years to acquire him. This maybe out of the A’s price range, but the signing of Infante could open up many options for the Oakland Athletics’ infield. The A’s should at least make an attempt to aquire him.
Yes, he missed all of last season because of injury. However, in the years before, Corey Hart was a perennial threat to hit .280 with 30 home runs.
Hart has lost weight and claims that he is in good enough shape to play outfield, despite his surguries. This could bode well for the Oakland Athletics, who just lost Chris Young to the New York Mets. Even if Hart can’t play outfield, the A’s could stick him at designated hitter. He likely will not have an overwhelming price tag, which would give the Athletics the opportunity to make the signing if they look past the injury risk.
As of right now, the A’s have not shown any interest in Hart, but because of the potential for a big season, they should look into Hart’s future.
The Oakland Athletics need to look for an impact hitter this offseason. Just one consistent hitter could vault them from playoff contender to World Seriescontender.
Of course, an ALDS opponent without Justin Verlander could do that as well.