No one thought the Oakland Athletics would be good this year. But it didn’t surprise many that the A’s made plenty of moves either. It began with the moves they made over the offseason when Oakland moved away core players, including Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Since those trades, the A’s have a 56-99, the second worst baseball record. A lot went wrong this year for the A’s to put them on the brink of their first 100-loss season since 1979.
How Oakland Got Here
The moves the A’s made over the offseason is the main reason for where the team is. The trades were provoked by the team’s late-season collapse last year after it looked as though they were playoff bound. The only player who’s been able to step up this year for Oakland is catcher Sean Murphy. Murphy is hitting .250 with 18 home runs and 37 doubles. In addition, he’s also been playing good baseball in the second half of the year. Seth Brown is also having a career year, raising his average to .232 as he leads the team with 25 home runs. Besides Murphy and Brown, there hasn’t been much depth. Oakland is hitting .217 as a team which is the worst in the league, along with one of the worst team averages in MLB history.
There have been many disappointments in the A’s lineup this year. Ramon Laureano returned from suspension in May and hasn’t been the player A’s fans remember from 2019. One of the top pieces the A’s got back in one of their offseason trades was outfielder Cristian Pache. While he has managed to cover the outfield well, Pache hasn’t done anything at the plate since returning to the minors. Pache’s .160 batting average is the worst in the league among players that have gone to the plate 200 or more times this year.
One other big piece the A’s got in their trades was Shea Langeliers. Langeliers has shown flashes since being called up in August, but his .221 batting average and .242 OBP aren’t what the A’s are looking for in him long term. The catcher is still early in his big league career, and he’s joining a team that’s having a rough go. It should be easier to evaluate Langeliers next season.
The Rest of the Way
The A’s will continue their three-game set in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels tonight. They lost the first game of the series, 4-3. The A’s went up 3-0 in the second but squandered the lead in the bottom half. The Angels scored the game-winning run in the ninth to move the A’s two losses from the triple-digit loss mark. Last night, the A’s also took another early lead but gave up four unanswered runs to drop the game 4-1.
Following the series in Anaheim, the A’s will head to Seattle for a three game set. The Seattle Mariners will be looking to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2001. Ken Waldichuk will get the ball for the A’s in the series’ first game. Waldichuk has not been good since getting called up in August since it often takes young players some time to adjust to the big leagues. This appears to be what’s happening with Waldichuk.
The A’s will return to Oakland to face the Angels for their series finale. If the A’s go undefeated over their next four games, they could be looking to fend off the 100 loss mark during this series. It was a forgettable year for Oakland baseball, but the team was able to make some moves to get young players to Oakland. The rest of the season and the 2023 campaign will develop these young players’ talents.
Oakland management will have some decisions to make this offseason. Whether or not they decide to trade, Murphy, who is under team control for three more years, will likely be the headliner. Oakland could also get a lot of value back for their young backstop. With the minor leagues having a lot of depth at the catcher position, Murphy could become an intriguing trade chip this off-season.
The A’s could also move Laureano in the same contract situation as Murphy. But, the outfielder struggled this season. If Pache can step up next year, it would be easier for the A’s to trade someone like Laureano.
The A’s pitching staff will have to be better next year. Paul Blackburn started the season well but has since cooled off. Cole Irvin and James Kaprielian will likely be key parts of the rotation again next year. Oakland will continue t o develop their arms in the minor leagues and maybe pull off a trade that could bring somebody to the majors. It will be an interesting offseason for the A’s, one that could shape the team’s future.
Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy, Seth Brown, Ramon Laureano, Cristian Pache, Shea Langeliers, Shohei Ohtani, Ken Waldichuk, Paul Blackburn, Cole Irvin, James Kaprielian