By: Ross Sutton
The Oakland A’s have had a very good season so far, and no one seems to have noticed. The A’s are currently 46-39 and are at least three games better than any other American League team that is not currently in the playoff picture. So this means that the A’s probably have the best chance to grab the second wild card spot, outside of the Mariners. The A’s are currently eight games back of Seattle, and due to the fact that Oakland and Seattle are in the same division, the two teams will play each other 10 more times in the regular season, so the A’s will have an opportunity to make up a lot of ground in the wild card race.
It truly has been a complete team effort for the A’s, as no single player has carried the team for a significant portion of the season thus far. I think this makes them a dangerous team and a serious threat to the Mariners, as they would probably continue to play well if one of their better players got injured. The core group of players on offense for the A’s includes Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Jed Lowrie, and Matt Chapman. Davis and Olson lead the team in home runs with 20 and 18, respectively. Lowrie is the stable contact hitter every team needs and Chapman has some pop at the plate while playing elite defense at third. The A’s core group of pitchers includes Sean Manaea, Blake Treinen, Daniel Mengden, Trevor Cahill, and Lou Trivino. Manaea has become the most well-known pitcher out of this group after throwing a no-hitter against the Red Sox earlier this season. Treinen (0.89 ERA) and Trivino (1.56 ERA) have become two extremely valuable weapons out of the bullpen, and Cahill and Mengden have helped stabilize the middle of Oakland’s starting rotation.
Most people in the organization as well as A’s fans are probably fairly surprised that the A’s have played so well this season and are sort of in the hunt for a wild card spot. The A’s probably didn’t expect to be this competitive this year and since so much of their major-league talent is new to the league, they have a few years of control over a significant part of their core. This means that Oakland doesn’t need to go all in at the deadline to try to make the playoffs this year. Due to the fact that the A’s are a small-market team and their ownership doesn’t exactly have the deepest pockets in the league, Oakland has never really been a team that has acquired players that can make an immediate impact at the major-league level around the deadline. That being said, I would love to see the A’s make a couple of small moves that would put them in a position to have a better chance at catching the Mariners. In my opinion, if the A’s are going to try to catch Seattle, they need to acquire a starting pitcher, and another arm in the bullpen. So if I was Billy Beane or general manager David Forst, I would make a push to try to trade for one of the good, young relievers on the Marlins, either Drew Steckenrider (3.19 ERA), Kyle Barraclough (1.21 ERA), or Adam Conley (1.50 ERA). These relievers have shown they can pitch very effectively at the big-league level and they are under control through the 2023, 2021, and 2021 seasons, respectively, so the A’s would have these any of these players for years to come. So even if they missed the playoffs this year, the trade would still help the team long-term. In regards to acquiring a starting pitcher, I think the A’s can go after a guy that is a free agent after this season because many of the A’s top prospects are pitchers, so they would be ok moving forward if they did not re-sign the pitcher they trade for. Therefore, I would love to see the A’s go after either Lance Lynn (5.49 ERA) or Tyson Ross (3.78 ERA). Both of these veterans have are free agents at the end of the year, and I think either of them could be a valuable part of the A’s team if Oakland traded for them. Even though Lynn has struggled this year, I believe he would benefit from a change of scenery as his brief time in Minnesota has not gone well. Also, being in the hunt for a playoff spot would likely reenergize Lynn and make him more effective on the mound. Overall, I’m not sure if the A’s will be aggressive at the deadline or not, but I really hope they are.
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