Well that will just about do it for the Oakland Athletics and the ol’ arbitration process for 2013. Just before today’s deadline to exchange arbitration numbers the A’s announced they had agreed to terms with reliever Jerry Blevins and first baseman Brandon Moss on contracts for the 2013 season. They were the final two unsigned arbitration eligible players on the roster. Terms of the deals were not available.
Brandon Moss was signed on a minor league contract last season, and joined the team in June and caught fire. Over just 84 games Moss posted an impressive .291/.358/.596 slash line with 21 home runs and 52 RBI. Moss was incredibly streaky, but when he was locked in he was as devastating for opposing pitchers as anyone. Just about any projection you can find has Moss regressing a bit in 2013. Bill James‘ projections as seen on Fangraphs have him hitting .265/.335/.486 in 144 games for the A’s with 25 bombs. That seems easily attainable. The big flaw in his game is his propensity to strike out, he whiffed 90 times in 2012, the idea of him striking out 180 times or so is a little scary I will admit. I do have a particular soft spot for Brandon Moss though, so I tend to have higher expectations for him in 2013 compared to just about anyone on Earth. If he goes deep 30 times next year with a similar slash line to what Bill James projected I wouldn’t be surprised. Sometimes it just clicks.
Jerry Blevins elevated himself from a mop up guy to a trusted reliever in 2012. He threw 65.1 innings and posted a very nice 2.48 ERA. He was still a bit prone to the long ball, giving up 7 home runs last season. The key to him repeating that success will be to limit those home runs. His .224 BABIP though speaks to a little bit of good luck and a little help from his defense behind him. That will probably rise and therefore so will his ERA, but there’s no reason to expect he’ll cease being an effective reliever.
Barring another unexpected trade or signing, that will just about wrap up the offseason activity for the Oakland Athletics. Coming up in just over a week will be the FanFest event, and not long after that on February 12th pitchers and catchers will be reporting for Spring Training in Arizona. I can almost smell Clay Wood’s expertly manicured grass at the O.co Coliseum.