Oakland Athletics: Farewell to a Rough Season


The Oakland Athletics played their last home stand of 2015, and only a handful of away games remain. Do you remember all of the promise the A’s showed us over the last few years? It was a great time to see the Swingin’ A’s play in Oakland. Both the pitching and offense were consistently good, and rising stars drew thousands of fans to the ballpark. However, that’s in the past along with the nightmare of the 2015 season.

It’s times like these that make A’s fans hate the “moneyball” strategy. We go through the same old story way too often, but this year brought awful stinging pains. There are situations when we are able to easily brush off a player departure as if it’s not a big deal. That was the case with Scott Kazmir this season. He was stellar last year, but his ability went downhill in 2015. Unfortunately for Kazmir, he hasn’t found much success with the Astros. It’s safe to say that A’s fans got over that loss pretty quickly.

However, the painful departures of Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes still linger over the Coliseum. Donaldson surpassed 40 home runs on the season, and he’s a top contender for the American League MVP. The A’s got Brett Lawrie from the Donaldson deal with Toronto. Lawrie has been decent, but he’s nowhere near as good as Donaldson. A power hitting infielder can really pull a team together. Without that, the offense and fielding for the A’s has suffered.

Speaking of power, Cespedes supercharged the offense of the New York Mets. He registered 17 home runs in 52 games with the Mets, and he’s a key reason they won the National League Central Division. From his time in Oakland, we all know that he isn’t the most consistent hitter. However, his athleticism and insane arm strength should have inspired Billy Beane to keep Cespedes on the team.

There isn’t anything that Beane could say to appease the frustration of A’s fans. The situation here is a result of bad moves by Beane. Both Donaldson and Cespedes are on highly winning clubs, and the A’s are at the bottom without those players. Obviously the situation is more complicated than that, but it’s pretty clear that those two players could have positively changed fortunes for the A’s in 2015.

The other side to this story of lost offensive power is poor pitching. Aside from Sonny Gray, the starting rotation and the bullpen has been dreadful this season. At least Sean Doolittle has been around to entertain fans in the last few weeks of the season.

Any fan could handpick the pitchers that the A’s should dump. It’s crazy that some of their supposedly professional pitchers have been highly mediocre. Most of them look like they belong in the minors. In the offseason, hammering out a better rotation should be the number one priority for the A’s.

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My tone has come across as pessimistic, but there is some hope with this team. Quite a few players have developed into consistent producers this season. Hopefully Josh Reddick, Billy Burns, Mark Canha, and Danny Valencia all continue to play positive roles for the A’s. Plus, it would be nice if Sonny doesn’t have a third straight season with a second half slump in 2016.

A main takeaway from the 2015 season is missed opportunities. It’s a pretty simple situation. The Oakland Athletics blew too many games with awful pitching, and the offense was nowhere to be found for most of the year. Maybe it’s time for Beane to open his wallet for a talent that could supercharge this team like Donaldson and Cespedes are doing for their teams.

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