|The 2008 Oakland Athletics||| Print ||
Written by Nicholas Kramer (Contact & Archive) on March 26, 2008
RHP Keith Foulke (Signed from retirement)
OF Jeff Fiorentino (Waivers from the Reds)
RHP Fernando Hernandez (Rule 5 White Sox)
OF Ryan Sweeny (Traded from White Sox)
LHP Dana Eveland (Trade from Arizona)
OF Carlos Gonzalez (Trade from Arizona)
Tired of the Elephant
OF Nick Swisher (Traded to White Sox)
RHP Dan Haren (Traded to Arizona)
OF Mark Kotsay (Traded to Atlanta)
DH Mike Piazza (Free agent)
OF Chris Snelling (Free agent)
INF Marco Scutaro (Traded to Blue Jays)
OF Shannon Stewart (Free agent)
The Skinny: The A’s saw a dramatic 2007 season that was filled with ups and (mostly) downs. The A’s lost Houston Street for most the season as well as Rich Harden and Eric Chavez. Only after Rich Harden opted for surgery did the Athletics look to just give up. The A’s are getting a new stadium soon and have traded off players like Dan Haren and Mark Kotsay to start now building up for the future in that new stadium.
Strengths: Pitching is still a strong and dependable part of the A’s formula for winning. Luckily the “Genius” known as Billy Beane has kept the payroll low while keeping the key components that will keep the A’s rotation dependable for the 2008 season. Houston Street although coming off an injury to his Ulnar Collateral nerve and is looking to solidify his spot as closer again. Alan Embree and Keith Foulke will also have a shot at closer but most likely will be the two big set-up men.
Joe Blanton is projected to either be traded sometime this season or most likely will be the opening day starter against Boston. Although the starting pitching does look a little different and possibly a little younger, don’t let that fool you. Billy Beane knows how to eye young talent and honestly he is probably the McGuyver of Major League Baseball. You can give Billy Beane a paper clip, rubber band, a glass of water and safety pin, and he can create a pretty decent pitcher out of it.
Weakness: Hitting is the one thing that Oakland has had consistently keeping not only healthy but improving. When the A’s get a young hitter that looks to push in to the majors and be the next Mark McGwire or Ricky Henderson or even a guy that resembles Jose Canseco (without steroids) those young talented hitters tend to become injury prone or just lose their concentration. I’m not sure if scouting, training or management should be to blame but it always hurts the A’s. This season is no different Eric Chavez is expected to miss the start of the season to help continue his rehabilitation from a knee injury last season.
1. RF Travis Buck
2. 2B Mark Ellis
3. DH Jack Cust
4. 3B Eric Chavez
5. LF Emil Brown
6. SS Bobby Crosby
7. CF Chris Denofria
8. C Kurt Suzuki
1. Joe Blanton
2. Rich Harden
3. Dana Eveland
4. Justin Duchscherer
5. Lenny DiNardo
Keys to Success: The future of the team is in the hands of the A’s youth. Given that they will probably end up in last place behind Texas, the A’s are not thinking about 2008; they are thinking about the future. Look for a lot of players to go between AAA and the active roster during the season. Also look for a lot of play by rookies and possibly ROY going to an Athletic player.
Prediction: The A’s will most likely end up in last place. Texas has an improved team, the Angels look pretty good and the Mariners are looking pretty good, too. The A’s will have to figure a way to stay healthy and give their young guys a chance at playing and resting players that are injured more often. It’s the only way the A’s can compete in the AL West in 2009 and beyond.