Well, there it is. Another season of Oakland A’s baseball is in the books. Another last place finish, another year in which I stopped watching games on a daily basis by late May. I just re-read my end of the season piece from last season and it sounds similar to some of the thoughts I have at the end of this season. Much like in 2015, we saw some bad baseball played, and saw some veterans traded away at the deadline. And my optimism for the future is still there – it’s always there – only with different names attached.
Thanks to trades, we have new names to be excited about, like Jharel Cotton, who was exceptionally impressive in five September starts. Thanks to development in the minors, we’re starting to see some of that talent that has led minor league teams to championships in recent years, and guys like Ryon Healy, Bruce Maxwell, and Joey Wendle got significant time in the second half of this season. And we also saw a lot of the old guard depart, saying goodbye to both Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick this season. We even got rid of Billy Butler! It really feels like the slate is wiped clean.
It’s interesting – I spoke a lot in last season’s piece about how I didn’t want the A’s to trade Sonny Gray in the offseason, and I still feel that way but with different factors at play. Last offseason, he was at peak trade value and this offseason, his trade value has diminished after a lackluster, injury-riddled season. I didn’t want the A’s to even sell high on their cost controlled young ace, so I definitely don’t want them to sell low. It feels to me like Sonny’s poor season was a blessing in disguise, as he certainly would’ve been shipped out at the deadline if he had been healthy and in All Star form. It feels like the stars aligned for him to stay. Let’s take that as a sign and keep him around, A’s.
There are plenty of other questions as we go into the offseason. What will become of the other veterans, like Stephen Vogt and Danny Valencia and Ryan Madson? Could Ron Washington be on the move, after working his magic with Marcus Semien and other young infielders? What about BoMel? Or something I haven’t thought of yet? As always, I’m ready for whatever is next. Go 2017 A’s…