Oakland Athletics Busy In The Offseason Thus Far


The Oakland Athletics had a 2015 season to forget, and so far they are putting the work in to field a more competitive 2016 team.

More from Oakland Athletics

The Oakland Athletics, just in the last two weeks, have already completed three trades and signed two pitchers. All the transactions thus far could be filed as “under the radar” moves, which is typical of a Billy Beane offseason.

Although the Athletics finished dead last in the AL West at 68-94 last season, luck had a lot to do with Oakland’s poor season. The team was a paltry 19-35 in one run games and blew 25 saves — tied for third worst in the league.

The Athletics’ bullpen issues plagued them all season and having All Star closer Sean Doolittle for just 12 games left the A’s vulnerable with a revolving door of closers. All of this being said, the A’s could use a bit more of Lady Luck next season if they hope to bounce back into playoff contention.

The A’s first major move of the offseason was the signing of starting pitcher, Rich Hill, to a one year, $6 million deal. Hill was able to parlay a strong stint towards the end of the season for the Boston Red Sox into a nice deal for a pitcher who had rarely been heard from since his 2007 season with the Chicago Cubs.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Up until last season, Hill had pitched just 158 innings over the previous seven seasons. He started four games for the Red Sox, going 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA and amassed 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Beane’s vision for Hill seems similar to the vision that guided him when he signed fellow left starting pitcher, Scott Kazmir, away from the Cleveland Indians a few seasons ago. Kazmir was also a seasoned veteran who had success earlier in his career, only to have injuries curtail his performance.

Hill turned down more money from other teams as he was guaranteed a starting spot in the A’s rotation. If the A’s can squeeze 25-30 starts from Hill as a fourth or fifth starter, he will be another classic Beane bargain.

With the addition of Hill, the A’s had a glut of possible contenders for the back end of the rotation. As a result, SP Jesse Chavez was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever, Liam Hendriks. Hendriks should bolster the weakest area of the A’s roster, as he finished with an impressive 5-0 record along with a 2.92 ERA and 9.9 K/9IP.

Chavez was solid in his second year as a starter, compiling a mostly hard luck 7-15 record with 4.18 ERA. The reality was he was an excess commodity for the A’s that needed to be turned over to address a greater need for the club.

For the second time in two years, the A’s traded for utility infielder, Jed Lowrie, from the Houston Astros. In exchange, the A’s sent minor league pitcher, Brendan McCurry. It was a low risk move for a player who is familiar with the team and he should bring always needed versatility to the infield. The key for Lowrie will be stay on the field, as he appeared in just 69 games last season after a thumb injury.

The A’s final trade up to this point was sending pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the San Diego Padres for first baseman, Yonder Alonso. Although Pomeranz initially flashed potential that had been missing since his Cleveland Indians days, his status for the rotation was shaky at best, and he was often erratic in the reliever role.

Alonso should bring more competition to the everyday starting role at first base. As a former top pick for the Cincinnati Reds, Alonso should push incumbent Mark Canha to continue to produce power numbers for the A’s.

Finally, the A’s re-signed pitcher Felix Doubront to a one year deal worth $2 million. Doubront, who was brought over during the trade deadline from last season from the Blue Jays, should help in making spot starts and adding depth to the bullpen.

Next: Oakland Athletics: Farewell to a Rough Season

None of the Athletics’ moves thus far have been earth shattering. They didn’t land a top liner like a Zack Greinke or David Price.  But this is what Beane and the A’s do every season. With every new season there is a restricted budget to stick to, and bargain bin finds are essential to the continued competitiveness of the A’s. So far, the A’s have worked hard to improve their roster, and more moves can be expected.