Advertisements

Oakland Athletics State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

When does Beane ever sleep?   56 transactions over the last calendar year, and he may be prepping the phone with another rash of injuries to 60% of his Starting Staff.  Beane has at least addressed the teams depth for 15 years, and when you look at the salary for their Pitchers, you will be able to detect why.  They never overpay on long-term deals for Starters.

When does Beane ever sleep? 56 transactions over the last calendar year, and he may be prepping the phone with another rash of injuries to 60% of his Starting Staff. Beane has at least addressed the teams depth for next 2 – 3 years, and when you look at the salary for their Pitchers, you will be able to detect why. They never overpay on long-term deals for Starters.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Follow MLB Reports On Twitter

It has been a tough week in Oakland for the Starting Pitching.  Jarrod Parker will need Tommy John Surgery and is  out for the 2014 year.

A.J. Griffin received better news, but also will be sidelined for the near future with a UCL strain.

To complicate the opening roster even more, Scott Kazmir has Triceps soreness and is currently also on the shelf.

Billy Beane doesn’t seem that worried, as he has Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez stretched out to work some starts if needed.

Jarrod Parker is out for the year with pending Tommy John Surgery.  You are talking about a guy that was 25 - 16 with a 3.68 ERA over the last 2 years combined.  He has top of the rotation stuff and will be greatly missed.  The A's also had a TJ scare with A.J. Griffin, but it has been downgraded to an elbow strain for now.

Jarrod Parker is out for the year with pending Tommy John Surgery. You are talking about a guy that was 25 – 16 with a 3.68 ERA over the last 2 years combined. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be greatly missed. The A’s also had a TJ scare with A.J. Griffin, but it has been downgraded to an elbow strain for now.  Parker came over to Oakland with Ryan Cook in the Trevor Cahill trade a few years back.

The organization also made trades in the offseason picking up Drew Pomeranz and Josh Lindblom.  These guys are capable of some starts later in the year if needed.

Billy Beane knows the epidemic of Starters having UCL problems.  This is one of the reasons he hates signing Pitchers for long-term deals anyway.

Look at the GM’s trade history, he knows more than anyone that a guy is worth the most amount of value in the 1st 7 years of his career.

Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson posted far better numbers with the A’s than after leaving the nest.  Only Hudson was close to his Bay numbers.

Beane has also traded Gio Gonzalez, Dan Haren, Trevor Cahill and flipped talented pitcher Rich Harden to the Cubs for a package of players that included Josh Donaldson in recent years.

The ‘Moneyball” man knows that drafting pitching and trading them for hitters (plus young pitching) when they are at the pinnacle of their life in Oakland is smart.

The franchise still has Sonny Gray and Dan Straily as healthy members of the rotation to draw from.  Hopefully Griffin can return soon, and Kazmir can be there for opening day.

Known as the transaction master, watch Beane pluck a few pitchers from the waiver wire once teams announce their final roster spots.

The A’s also have enough organizational depth to do another trade.

Alberto Callaspo, John Jaso and Craig Gentry are decent enough to be involved in a trade to bring in a backup.

The other idea that passed through my mind is to watch the progress of top prospect Addison Russell.

If he can progress enough to take over a spot on the big club, this could mean more trade prospects.

Jed Lowrie was traded for Power Hitting 1B/OF/DH Chris Carter prior to the 2013 season.  He  hit very well - with a .290/.344/.446 and 62 XBH.  The Infielder  He is a key to the overall offensive mindset of the franchise.  Good BA, Good OBP.  Lowrie is a Free Agent after this year.  If he does well in 2014, the club can hold onto him for the full year, however I am an advocate of dealing him for a Starting Pitcher, if Addison Russell comes up midway through the year.  Or he could be moved up to 2B to end the year.

Jed Lowrie was traded for Power Hitting 1B/OF/DH Chris Carter prior to the 2013 season. He hit very well – with a .290/.344/.446 and 62 XBH. The Infielder He is a key to the overall offensive mindset of the franchise. Good BA, Good OBP. Lowrie is a Free Agent after this year. If he does well in 2014, the club can hold onto him for the full year, however I am an advocate of dealing him for a Starting Pitcher, if Addison Russell comes up midway through the year. Or he could be moved up to 2B to end the season if he is being productive, but then you lose the asset for nothing this winter.

Jed Lowrie is on the last year of his contract.  If he can’t duplicate his brilliant 2013 year, and struggles some, the club may want to trade him near the deadline, so they be able to net a pitcher in return.

Let this one play out.

The A’s have the most wins in the MLB since the start of 2012 year.  The AL West should be tougher this year with improvements on the Seattle, Texas, Houston and Los Angeles squads.

The biggest key for Oakland this year is Yoenis Cespedes.  I project him to have a monster year, where he may provide 30+ HRs and add 100 RBI.

Coco Crisp will be eager to match his 20/20 season in HRs last year.  This guy is perfect for the Bay Area team.

The club signed him to a 2 YR/$22.75 MIL extension for 2015 and 2016 (with a 2017 Vesting Option) based on his great 2013 year.  Crisp finished 15th in AL MVP Voting for good reason.

I bank on Crisp to smack 50 XBH, hit for a decent average, walk a fair bit, and continue to lead off for the team.

The big 1B had 30 HRs in 2013, and this came in just 446 AB.  Give this man AB in every game this year and he may hit 40.  The man also knocked in 87.

The big 1B had 30 HRs in 2013, and this came in just 446 AB. Give this man AB in every game this year and he may hit 40. The man also knocked in 87 last year.

Brandon Moss will man the position at 1B in 2013, and look to have another 30 HR season like last year.  Moss added 87 RBI in just 446 AB.

He is a year away from Arbitration, and is asserting himself as a great young power hitter.  The LHB clubbed for a .904 OPS vs RHP.

Nate Freiman may pick up some 1B AB vs LHP, as he carries an .805 OPS for his only season.

With Daric Barton out of Options and likely being DFA'd or be placed in AAA, the only thing separating Freiman from a full-time First Base job is Brandon Moss. But then again, there is always the DH position if he has a quick start.  Although he has to improve on his hitting against RHP.

With Daric Barton out of Options and likely being DFA’d or be placed in AAA after Spring Training, the only thing separating Freiman from a full-time First Base job is Brandon Moss. But then again, there is always the DH position if he has a quick start. Although he has to improve on his hitting against RHP.

At 2B you can see the team playing Eric Sogard and Alberto Callaspo.  Sogard is better defensively, but Callaspo is a good contact hitter that walks a lot, without striking out a ton.

Callaspo hit for 70 PTS higher on the OPS front.

Jed Lowrie will start the year at SS, where he clubbed 62 XBH (15 HRs and 45 – 2B in 2013) among his .290/.344./.446 slash last year in what was his career best season.

Like I said before, Lowrie is in the last year of his deal.

The one option the team could do is put him back at Second Base if they call up Addison Russell.  Lowrie hit 3rd in the lineup for the majority of the year in 2013.

I think a small regression may come this year, but .275/.330/.425 is not out of the question, with teens in HRs and plenty of Doubles.

Donaldson is one of the best third baseman that no one knows about besides the people in Oakland.  He finished 4th in AL MVP Voting last year.  He ended up hitting 24 HRs and 93 RBI with a .883 OPS.  He was much better than these numbers for the majority of the season.  Donaldson, 28, should be a player the team tries to extend for the long-term.

Donaldson is one of the best third baseman that no one knows about besides the people in Oakland. He finished 4th in AL MVP Voting last year. He ended up hitting 24 HRs and 93 RBI with a .883 OPS. He was much better than these numbers for the majority of the season. Donaldson, 28, should be a player the team tries to extend for the long-term.  He is a solid defender and great leader.  He was acquired a few years back in a deal that sent injury prone Rich Harden to the Cubs.  I would say Beane fared well in that move.

At 3B, Josh Donaldson comes back to the hot corner after adding a 4th place AL MVP finish. 

He was superb in  a campaign he went .301/.384/.499 – with 37 Doubles and 24 HRs added to his 93 RBI.

The 27 Year Old should be looked at by the franchise for a long-term extension.  He has put up the numbers the team has missed at 3B since the days of Eric Chavez.

I would expect another great year from Donaldson at .295/.380/.500 – with 25 HRs and 90+ RBI.

The Catcher position should be equally split up by Derek Norris and John Jaso.

Jaso’s last 501 AB in the Majors look great between 2012 and 2013:  (.273/.390/with over a .400 SLG). He is a Beane player through and through.

Whether he is in the DH or Catchers slot, he should be given as many AB as possible.  An OBP of nearly .400 would be perfect out of the 2 slot in the lineup.

Derek Norris improved a great deal from 2012 – 2013, putting up OPS’s of .625 and .754 respectively.  9 HRs and 30 RBI in just 264 AB is decent production.

If he were to play a full season, Norris could jack about 20 HRs and bring in 70 RBI.

Reddick had a brutal start to the 2013 year because of a burdening wrist injury.  He came on strong at the end, but still only had 12 HRs.  In an OF that could see all 3 guys club 20+ HRs this season, he must do well to start the 2014 year.  If he struggles at all, Moss may be moved to the OF and Reddick may be benched.

Reddick had a brutal start to the 2013 year because of a burdening wrist injury. He came on strong at the end, but still only had 12 HRs. In an OF that could see all 3 guys club 20+ HRs this season, he must do well to start the 2014 year. If he struggles at all, Moss may be moved to the OF and Reddick may be benched.

Josh Reddick will be given a chance in RF to start the campaign.  He slumped for the majority of the year from his wrist injury. but was much better in August and September.

I am not sure he can club 32 HRs again like in 2012, but he will hit more than his 12 HRs in 2014.  If he plays a full year, look for .240/.330/.420 – with 23 HRs and 65 RBI.

Should Reddick slump to start, Brandon Moss could see some time in RF, and Jaso or Freiman could pick up some reps at 1B.

Yoenis Cespedes had an off year in 2013 after a great rookie season in 2012.  I think that 2014 will be the ultimate breakout year for this man, clubbing north of 35 HRs and knocking in 100 RBI.  Enjoy him for the next 2 years Oakland.

Yoenis Cespedes had an off year in 2013 after a great rookie season in 2012. I think that 2014 will be the ultimate breakout year for this man, clubbing north of 35 HRs and knocking in 100 RBI. Enjoy him for the next 2 years Oakland.

Cespedes should go .270/.320/.500 with 35 HRs and 104 RBI.

The OF production may near about 80 HRs between the 3 positions.

Crisp will hit .260/.330/.400 – with 90 Runs Scored and 20 SB.

Craig Gentry, another bench player is a great choice as the 4th OF.  This guy has blazing speed with 56 SB in about a season’s worth of work.

Gentry has a .280 Career BA, with a .356 OBP. He is also not foreign to the playoffs.  This was a move that was smart in case Crisp hadn’t of re-signed.

Even though he had, Gentry can also play CF, with Crisp seeing some AB at DH if necessary to rest the Veteran.

Nick Punto is another player that is a Utility guy.  He can play SS/3B or 2B, but will not light it up offensively.  It was a smart move by Beane to secure his services as it gives him option.

The strongest facet of this team right now is the Bullpen.

Jim Johnson registered back to back 50 Save seasons in Baltimore for 2012 and 2013, with his role not being a given in Oakland, he probably won't hit 50 this season.  Craig Kimbrel all reached the half century mark.  3 out of the last 6 years, Relievers have, with 49 saves from Jose Valverde just missing the clip in 2011.

Jim Johnson registered back to back 50 Save seasons in Baltimore for 2012 and 2013, with his role not being a given in Oakland, he probably won’t hit 50 this season.  He is still an outstanding Reliever, and may thrive in any capacity during the upcoming campaign.

Revamped to be something fierce, it features Jim Johnson and his 101 Saves over the last few years. 

I am not sure he will make the whole year as the Closer, however, I think he will settle in nice, with an ERA under 3.

Luke Gregerson has authored 5 brilliant seasons coming out of the Padres Bullpen.  He has a 2.78 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in his 347 IP worth of work.  The 29 Year Old from Park Ridge, IL originally, has averaged appearing in 68 games a year.

Luke Gregerson has authored 5 brilliant seasons coming out of the Padres Bullpen. He has a 2.78 ERA and 1.092 WHIP in his 347 IP worth of work. The 29 Year Old from Park Ridge, IL originally, has averaged appearing in 68 games a year.

Luke Gregerson may be the guy to take over the Closer’s Role, but if not, he stays the whole year as just a Reliever, that would make him a candidate for a Holds Leader.

The team should be able to Save 50+ games.

Sean Doolittle has turned into a nasty left hander for the  opposition top deal with the last few years.  Whether it is Johnson or Gregerson manning the position of Closer, Ryan Cook and he should receive their fair shares of Holds and Saves each.

Sean Doolittle has turned into a nasty left hander for the opposition top deal with the last few years. Whether it is Johnson or Gregerson manning the position of Closer, Ryan Cook and he should receive their fair shares of Holds and Saves each.

Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle are 2 of the greatest late inning relievers in the game right now.

Expect both of them to have ERA’s under 3, appear in 70+ Games, and fan about 1 guy per inning.

Doolittle has a 5 to 1 career SO/BB area, and his WHIP is just over 1 for his lifetime at 1.01.  His numbers were even better last year for WHIP at 0.957.

Ryan Cook has a 2.55 ERA in 148.1 IP throughout his career.  He is a potential Closer in going forward as well.

Josh Lindblom and Evan Scribner also preside in the Relief Core.

Lindblom did start 5 games for the Rangers last year.  His best stretch of pitching came from the 2012 time with the Dodgers, posting a 3.02 ERA in 48 Game Appearances.

The rest of the time has been inconsistent.

Scribner has finished 25 Games over the last few years and has great potential to keep improving.

Jesse Chavez threw to a 3.92 ERA in 57.1 IP worth of work last year.  With everything equal he would be out of the pen for the whole year.

Since injuries are running rampant, he may see significant time as a Starter in the rotation.

Dan Otero is another option out of the pen.

Billy Beane - and the Athletics have seen their team post the best record in the MLB during the regular season for the last 2 years (190 Wins). The franchise has completed the most incredible amount of wins per dollar spent. Enough so, that they should really come out with the movie MoneyBall 2. Beane has been awesome in acquiring his Bullpen for 2014 - without surrendering many assets. Potential Closers Johnson and Gregerson were brought in, also the team brought in O'Flaherty     Billy Beane - and the Athletics have seen their team post the best record in the MLB during the regular season for the last 2 years (190 Wins). The franchise has completed the most incredible amount of wins per dollar spent. Enough so, that they should really come out with the movie MoneyBall 2. Beane has been awesome in acquiring his Bullpen for 2014 - without surrendering many assets. Potential Closers Johnson and Gregerson were brought in, also the team brought in  FA Eric O'Flaherty, all the team gave up was Seth Smith and Jemile Weeks in return.

Billy Beane – and the Athletics have seen their team post the best record in the MLB during the regular season for the last 2 years (190 Wins). Beane has been awesome in acquiring his Bullpen for 2014 – without surrendering many assets. Potential Closers Johnson and Gregerson were brought in, also the team brought in O’Flaherty for depth later in the year.

The list of players who are out of options and may see an end to their A’s career, include: Daric Barton, Fernando Abad and Michael Taylor.

Abad may stick around considering injuries to 60% of the rotation right now, and Relievers being thrusted into starting roles.

Drew Pomeranz, 25, will try to shake off his 5.46 ERA in Colorado, and make the team happy they traded Bret Anderson for him. Pomeranz was the 5th pick overall by the Cleveland Indians in 2010. He was in Denver, but for some reason, he played way better at Coors Field (4.40 ERA), but struggled away from the comforts of home (6.20 ERA).

Drew Pomeranz, 25, will try to shake off his 5.46 ERA in Colorado, and make the team happy they traded Bret Anderson for him. Pomeranz was the 5th pick overall by the Cleveland Indians in 2010. He was in Denver, but for some reason, he played way better at Coors Field (4.40 ERA), but struggled away from the comforts of home (6.20 ERA).

Pomeranz will start out in the Bullpen, but could be stretched out to Start.  If he does badly, he may even see some time in the Minors.

There is nothing wrong with jumping Tommy Milone (Career 26 – 19, .578 with a 3.92 ERA) from #6 on the Depth chart from anywhere from 3rd to 5th.

Milone was acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal a few years ago, with the team netting Jaso and Norris as assets in the roster assets from the deal.

Blake Treinen and Ian Krol were also put in for the Jaso transaction, and Brad Peacock was used in the trade for Lowrie that saw Chris Carter go to Houston.

Fernando Rodriguez, the last Bullpen candidate on the 2014 squad, was also brought in for the Carter deal.

With injuries to Parker, Griffin and Kazmir wreaking havoc on the Starting Rotation, Straily soars up the Depth Chart on the A's list.  He can handle this, and did anyone notice he finished 4th in AL Cy Young Voting last year.

With injuries to Parker, Griffin and Kazmir wreaking havoc on the Starting Rotation, Straily soars up the Depth Chart on the A’s list. He can handle this, and did anyone notice he finished 4th in AL Cy Young Voting last year.

Dan Straily improved vastly in 2013, putting forth a record of 10 – 8, 3.96 ERA.

The 25 Year Old flew under the radar in Rookie Of The Year Voting last year, placing 5th.  I expect the big RHP to put forth a great sophomore campaign.

I project a 14 – 10 year, with a 3.75 ERA.

If Kazmir throws a full year, he should win 11 – 13 games, and hold an ERA around 4.

It is tough to believe this guy is only 30 years old – when you consider how little he pitched for the few years prior to 2013.

Trading Bret Anderson was done right after the Kazmir signing.

The idea was to pay nearly the same amount of money in the next 2 years, while bringing in Drew Pomeranz additionally.

The Athletics did pick up $2 MIL worth of the salary for Anderson, but this is what Beane does.  Pomeranz is under Team Control until 2019.

This is the way the GM keeps the depth on the team.  Had he just kept Anderson, he couldn’t have signed Kazmir.  The net effect was another pitcher that could Start or be used in the Bullpen.

A.J. Griffin would have been the ace of this staff, and I would have projected a 16 - 10 record and a low 3 ERA if he wouldn't have come down with injury. With a strained elbow, I am leery of placing any projections on the man.  At 26, he would have been entering his 3rd year in the bigs.

A.J. Griffin would have been the ace of this staff, and I would have projected a 16 – 10 record and a low 3 ERA if he wouldn’t have come down with injury.  With a strained elbow, I am leery of placing any projections on the man. At 26, he would have been entering his 3rd year in the bigs.

Griffin is listed as out indefinitely, lets hope he doesn’t need TJ Surgery.  If he is later to find out this, it will also affect the 2015 year now.

Sonny Gray maybe the best healthy pitcher on Oakland now.  I see him winning 15 or 16 games, and carrying an ERA in the 3 range.

He only gave up 4 HRs in his 64 IP worth of chucking in 2013.  Sporting a 2.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.109.  I expect the ERA to climb a little, but it won’t hurt him that much.

Year Outlook.

I like the A’s to win nearly 90 Games as they stand right now.  If Griffin is unable to join the team in any capacity at 100%, I think will knock off another 3 games.

I will split the difference at about 88 Wins.  I think this will be good for 2nd in the AL West.

If the roster was intact including Parker, I may have predicted a 3rd straight Division Title.

I believe 88 Wins may be good enough to fight with Boston and New York for the 2nd Wild Card.

The Starters worry me some, however a more balanced offensive attack, and the best Bullpen in the AL, I believe this team can patchwork the Rotation to stay afloat.

In my official prediction, I am saying the A’s tie the Yankees for the 2nd Wild Card slot, and will play a playoff game which they will lose.’

Of course Beane may pull of a deal that puts Oakland over the top.

Bob Melvin's club has the best record in the NL since the start of the 2012 year.  The club is deep with many above average players and possesses a few guys that may breakout into superstar status in 2014.  This site would have predicted the A's for the playoffs, but I am not sure now with some Pitching healt concerns.  Oakland hasn't advance to the ALCS  since 2006.

Bob Melvin’s club has the best record in the NL since the start of the 2012 year. The club is deep with many above average players and possesses a few guys that may breakout into superstar status in 2014. This site would have predicted the A’s for the playoffs, but I am not sure now with some Pitching health concerns. As of right now, we are picking them to be  tied for the 2nd Wild card spot, and also finish 2nd in the AL West to the Rangers.  Oakland hasn’t advance to the ALCS since 2006.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

Sully Baseball’s 20 MIN Daily Podcast (514 Days Straight) Mar.19’14: “Are the A’s closer to a new stadium or is this just another plan that will never happen?”

Click the Play Button below.

Like us on Facebook here

Advertisements

About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on March 19, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Oakland Athletics State Of The Union: 2014 Preview.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: