2012 Oakland Athletics Season Preview
Oakland’s most famous employee right now is probably Billy Beane, and since the close of the 2011 season he’s been the most active too. Beane completed five trades and made some shrewd signings in the offseason to shape this year’s squad and replace the production of Josh Willingham. The latest signing that could pay big dividends is Manny Ramirez. Bringing his big bat and everything else that comes along with “Manny being Manny,” the slugger fits right into the Billy Beane philosophy of getting on base. Veterans Johnny Gomes and Seth Smith, along with youngster Josh Reddick, were all brought in to compete for playing time in the outfield and designated hitter spots. Reddick, for whom Beane traded closer Andrew Bailey for, was a highly regarded prospect in the Red Sox organization that is projected to have a good year for manager Bob Melvin. Sliding into Bailey’s closer spot will be Grant Balfour, who had an exceptional 2011 season. The Australian led the bullpen in innings pitched along with sporting a miniscule 2.47 ERA. Fautino De Los Santos will start the season in the majors for the first time in his career and will be counted on to step in a replace the production of Craig Breslow, who was shipped to the Diamondbacks in December. Beane’s squad of young talent like Brandon Allen, Jemile Weeks and Yoenis Cespedes along with the newly acquired veterans are looking to shock the league as they A’s have before.
2011 Oakland Athletics Season Preview
The Billy Beane, Moneyball-era continues in the Bay Area, where a player's metrics (and salary) are just as important as how many RBIs he knocks in. After three years of losing records, the A's broke out with a .500 season thanks in large part to an improved rotation and a lights-out bullpen. If Oakland wants to get past an even record and make it to the post season, they're going to have to rely on more than their pitching to get them there. They're going to have to do better than placing 11th in offense in the American League. Their major off-season signing was Hideki Matsui to fill the DH spot, the right place for him. There's still a lot of playing time left for Matsui, and the fact he doesn't have to play the field will extend that even longer. More pop in the bat is also expected from the newly acquired Josh Willingham and David DeJesus, as well as catcher Kurt Suzuki, who is looking to rebound from a sub-par 2010. As under the radar as the A's are, you probably didn't know that their pitching staff led the major leagues with a 3.47 ERA in 2010. With Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson leading the way, there's room for players like Gio Gonzalez to mature into the hurler many expect him to be (some are saying as soon as this year). If you're looking for a break-out team in the American League, the Oakland A's just may be it.
2010 Oakland Athletics Season Preview
Behind general manager Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics are always wheeling and dealing for new contracts, young talent and bargains on Major League Baseball's free agency market. All of those moves have allowed the A's to enter the 2010 season with a fiery, young pitching staff that is expected to do some serious damage in the American League West. The club has four pitchers, all age 27 or under, who have shown flashes of brilliance during their young careers. The Athletics are counting on starting pitchers Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden to hold down the squad's rotation for years to come. With 2009 American League Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey, returning this season as the team's closer, the Athletics will be sitting pretty late in close games. And in 2010, a newcomer to the Oakland Coliseum will try to take the team to the late innings, as four-time All Star pitcher Ben Sheets takes the mound in green and yellow. While Oakland Athletics fans grow to love the new faces on the team, they can take comfort in the return of proven veterans like catcher Kurt Suzuki, speedster outfielder Rajai Davis, and pitcher Justin Duchscherer.
2009 Oakland Athletics Season Preview
There is much reason for hope for the Oakland Athletics heading into the 2009 season. Oakland has a strong, young nucleus of players that could easily come together to make a run at the AL West Division. Players like Bobby Crosby and Orlando Cabrera are major contributors for the A's. Add to them new acquisitions Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi, and you start to see the huge potential of this Athletics team. If Oakland can overcome the loss of bullpen ace Huston Street and get amazing play from their key players, then pencil them in as contenders in the AL.
2008 Oakland Athletics Season Preview
The Oakland Athletics are one of the most exciting teams to watch in baseball. Though the team plays in a small market and must compete for fans with the San Francisco Giants, the franchise has enjoyed success and great fan support for years. The A's finished the 2007 season with a losing record - the first since 1998. You can bet the team will be anxious to wipe that season out of memory and will fight to contend for a division title. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum will be filled with rabid Oakland fans voicing their notoriously strong opinions about the umpires and the visiting team, while cheering the A's on to victory.