It seemed fitting that with President Obama delivering his annual State of the Union address this evening, I would take the opportunity to give my own “State of” address about our beloved Oakland Athletics. Now, we’ve spent the entire offseason dwelling on the amazing 2012 season (I use dwelling in the most positive sense of the word), and looking forward to what we all hope is going to be an even better 2013 season.
There are many factors that led to the state of the Athletics at this moment, moves that were made, moves that weren’t, and an amazing team chemistry that propelled the team back to prominence in the American League. But Billy Beane and the management of the organization were not satisfied to to rest on the laurels of the 2012 season, they saw an opportunity to create lasting success in Oakland, and they seized that opportunity. The window is now open for the Oakland Athletics to not only continue to be a contender for the AL West title, but a contender for the American League championship and a trip to the World Series.
While the likes of the Los Angeles Angels, the Toronto Blue Jays, and now the Cleveland Indians have thrown money at their perceived problems and have improved to varying degrees, none of them have developed the balance, talent, and depth that the Athletics have. This is why the Athletics have reached the point where they’ll be expected to battle with the juggernauts of the AL for the right to represent the league in late October, and emerge victorious.
Billy Beane has built an outfield that may be among the top 5 in all of baseball with the acquisition of Chris Young this offseason, and by bringing in Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes last offseason to play alongside Coco Crisp. He has built the most talented young starting rotation by acquiring future ace Jarrod Parker to compliment the highly talented Brett Anderson, and providing the team with depth by keeping Bartolo Colon in the fold despite his suspension, and has seen the development and emergence of unheralded youngsters Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, and Dan Straily provide immediate returns. The bullpen is full of firepower, and veteran leadership, that will shorten games and make life very difficult for opposing hitters in crucial situations. The infield, like the outfield, is a bit crowded, but there is talent all around. Players as talented as Jed Lowrie may find themselves in utility roles. While the likes of Jemile Weeks could be relegated to a bench role.
The final depth chart for this team will be ironed out throughout the Cactus League schedule during the month of March. Bob Melvin‘s mission is to create a successful atmosphere in Oakland, and use all 25 members of the Athletics to win every single game possible. It won’t be easy, it never is, but when it’s all said and done the Athletics will rise above the rest.
For far too long, this franchise has been down. The second most successful franchise in American League history and third most of all MLB teams, with 9 World Series titles to their credit, is primed to regain it’s proper position on top of the mountain. This is a team that not only wants to win, it expects to win. The expectations of everyone will be high, and this team will meet those expectations. The 2012 season was great, and 2013 will be that much better.