Oakland Athletics: What can the A’s do to correct their playoff failures?

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

How can the Oakland Athletics fix the issues that have lead to their elimination in the past two American League Wild Card games? Simple, sign Hyun-Jin Ryu!

The end of the decade has marked a resurgence for the Oakland Athletics.

Manager Bob Melvin has led the team to two consecutive 97-win seasons. With superstars Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien leading the charge, the A’s clearly have their sights set on a World Series run in the 2020s.

However, in order for the team to achieve their goals, they have one serious issue to consider — how can the team correct their playoff failures?

While the last few seasons have allowed the Oakland Athletics to establish themselves as a consistent playoff team, they have struggled to find success in October. Each of the past two seasons has seen Oakland fall in the Wild Card matchup.

In fact, the team has actually lost their last nine winner-take-all postseason games. This trend must be corrected in order for the team to capitalize on their current window of opportunity.

Here are some steps the team should take to improve their chances in 2020.

Sign a Legitimate Ace

Despite playing in the Bay Area, the A’s have a reputation as a small-market team. As such, they have taken on a “Moneyball” identity as a team that finds value rather than spends large amounts of money.

Traditionally, the team has never been a serious contender for the top free agents. The A’s could have immediately established themselves as a World Series favorite by adding recent free agents like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg to the top of their rotation.

Yet, like every other year, the team was never a part of the conversation.

However, this offseason may have provided a unique opportunity. While the likes of Cole, Strasburg, and Madison Bumgarner are off the board, there is one remaining ace that may fit in Oakland’s payroll — former Los Angeles Dodger Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Ryu’s 2019 season was by far the most effective of his MLB career. He finished the year with 14 wins and a league-leading 2.32 ERA over 182.2 innings.

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The first time All-Star was even the runner-up in the NL Cy Young award. While the A’s have several promising young pitchers, Ryu could provide a steady veteran presence in future playoff matchups.

The pitcher’s age (32-years-old) and his injury history make him far for a sure bet. But these traits may also bring his price tag down enough for a team like Oakland to seriously consider making the addition.

Add Overall Depth

While the need for an ace should be the team’s overwhelming priority, the A’s do have an opportunity to make some minor moves to improve depth.

While these moves will likely involve players much less prolific than Ryu, it will give the team a chance to do what they do best: find value.

The departure of former closer Blake Treinen leaves the team in need of another reliable arm in the bullpen. Perhaps a veteran like Collin McHugh or Robbie Erlin could help fill this need?

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The Oakland Athletics’ recent decision to send infielder Jurickson Profar to the San Diego Padres leaves the team with a void in the infield. Players like Starlin Castro, Wilmer Flores, or (a trade for) Jed Lowrie could be candidates, depending on how much the team is willing to sacrifice.

While incumbent catcher Sean Murphy represents the chance for a young prospect to shine in his first opportunity at the MLB level, he also carries a great deal of risk.

The catching market is bleak, but the A’s should seriously consider a signing or trade of a veteran backstop to provide depth and insurance. Free agents like Jason Castro and Francisco Cervelli would be very low-cost options.


At the end of the day, the A’s need to address their need at the top of their rotation above all others. If the team’s streak of postseason berths continues, they will assuredly face off against players like Cole, Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, and Shane Bieber.

Despite their elite offensive talent, Oakland will always be at a disadvantage if they are unable to match these players with an ace of their own.

Next. Oakland Athletics: Could Jed Lowrie be headed back to Oakland?. dark

Go sign Hyun-Jin Ryu!