The Oakland A’s finished 2016 with a disappointing record of 69-93. Oakland has now posted back-to-back seasons of fewer than 70 wins after three consecutive trips to the postseason. The A’s won consecutive AL West division titles in 2012 and 2013 and competed in the Wild Card Game in 2014. Oakland averaged 93 wins over those three seasons, but were unable to sustain that success. This season was a disappointment and left the roster in need of an overhaul moving forward.
Oakland A’s 2016 Season Recap
MVP: Khris Davis
Outfielder Khris Davis had a phenomenal first season in Oakland. The 28-year old set career-highs and led the team in many offensive categories. Davis led the A’s in hits (137), home runs (42), runs (85), RBI (102), and OPS (.831). He rounded out his campaign with 24 doubles, four triples, 42 walks, and a triple-slash line of .247/.307/.524, while appearing in 150 games.
Davis established himself as a top-performer for Oakland this season. More importantly, he is under team control for three more seasons. Davis will be arbitration eligible this offseason, but Oakland will certainly try to hang on to him. The front office will likely let the next three seasons play out through arbitration without a contract extension. This will benefit the team’s payroll, but Davis will likely earn a big payday.
Biggest Disappointment: Sonny Gray
Staff ace Sonny Gray had easily his worst season to date. The right-hander was coming off his first All-Star season and a third place finish in Cy Young voting. Expectations were high after consecutive 14-win seasons of 200+ innings pitched.
Gray struggled all the way in 2016. He finished with a record of 5-11 alongside an ERA of 5.69. Gray was unable to post a complete game this season after recording a total of five over the past two seasons. The potential is still there, but it is certainly no secret that the A’s need a strong rebound for their ace in 2017.
The struggles may not be entirely Gray’s fault. He made two separate trips to the disabled list in 2016. There is little doubt that these injuries affected Gray’s effectiveness. His strikeouts per nine innings and walks per nine innings were right on par with Gray’s career numbers. The main difference in his pitching was a high rate of hits and home runs. A complete season at full health should see Gray’s effectiveness return and his ERA improve.
Best Surprise: Rich Hill
Southpaw Rich Hill posted a resurgent season for the A’s. Hill had not started more than 13 games in a season since 2009 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. The 36-year-old made 14 start for Oakland this season and was fantastic from the start. He led the team with a 2.25 ERA, 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, 2.54 FIP, and a tiny 0.2 home runs per nine innings. Hill was a shot-in-the-arm for a young and growing rotation.
The best part is that Hill was able to have an impact on the A’s beyond this season. The struggling A’s decided to trade the lefty prior to the trade deadline. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Hill and Josh Reddick in a trade for three pitchers. Both Hill and Reddick became free agents at the end of this season, making the trade a slam dunk for Oakland.