I’ll just say it. The Oakland Athletics have absolutely no shot at competing next year in the American League West. No chance at all. Zip. Nada. Forget about it.
The front office, starting with owner Lew Wolff and General manager Billy Beane, is already waving the white flag of surrender.
Beane is off rebuilding for the future and Wolff is consumed by his team’s bid for a new stadium in San Jose. Not much attention, then, is being paid to the fans of the green-and-gold, or it would seem.
There’s likely going to be more excitement this year in Sacramento or Stockton, Oakland’s minor league affiliates, than there is going to be at O.co Coliseum. At this point, the A’s don’t even seem like a major league team.
So much has changed in a year. This time last year, the Athletics were a dark-horse to win the AL West in 2011, but they have virtually no chance at all to compete in Albert Pujols‘ newest home.
The Angels and Rangers are expected to compete for the division in 2012 while the A’s and Mariners duke it out for third-place.
While the team’s attendance actually rose from 2010′s totals, I’m not expecting many sell-outs this year at the Coliseum. The inconsistencies witnessed throughout the 2011 season are, in my mind, only going to get worse this year as younger players battle through the learning curves in the majors.
The team expects prospects Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock to compete for a spot in the rotation, but while both pitchers are talented, this year will definitely be marked by inconsistency as both pitchers find their footing in the majors.
Beane is putting a lot into this recent “youth-movement,” and while we have seen him perform this act before in the past (remember 2007?), there’s a renewed sense of commitment in this recent rebuild.
That renewed commitment, though, comes at a price that may be too expensive for A’s fans. For the past four or five year now, the A’s have basically asked their thinning fan-base to wait patiently while the front office tries to rebuild the franchise.
Fans have, for the most part, been cooperative, but their patience is definitely running thin. The A’s haven’t exactly been perfect in their execution with the rebuild they started in ’07, with the Matt Holliday confusing everyone, and the fans are growing weary of Beane’s antics.
2012 was supposed to be the year when everything came together. The rotation, led by Cahill, Gonzalez, and Brett Anderson was supposed to be Oakland’s second “Big Three,” while the offense was supposed to receive help from Chris Carter, Michael Taylor, and a few others.
Instead, it will be a year filled with a ton of frustration and growing pains thanks to Beane’s inconsistent execution. The A’s look like, at this point, a minor league team more than they do a major-league one.
There aren’t many exciting players except for Jemile Weeks, but the front office still expects the fans to come out to the ballpark and support the team that will (should MLB grant permission) be leaving their town.
Beane’s latest rebuild attempt needs to be executed properly. Otherwise, this year will be dominated purely by the frustration probably felt by all fans of the Athletics and there will be no hope for the future.
Get ready, A’s fans, it’s going to be a long season.
Tags: 2012 MLB Season Preview A's A.J. Cole Andrew Bailey Billy Beane Brandon McCarthy Brett Anderson Bud Selig Dallas Braden Defense Derek Norris Gio Gonzalez Grant Balfour Guillermo Moscoso Hideki Matsui Home Runs Jarrod Parker Josh Willingham Kurt Suzuki Lew Wolff Oakland Oakland A's Oakland A's Baseball Oakland Athletics Offense Promotions Runs San Jose Trevor Cahill