Finally it has arrived. The sun is rising as high as the expectations thrust upon a team who don green and gold. Yes. Baseball season is back in action. And the A’s are in a position rarely seen around Oakland in all sports, to contend. After a rollercoaster 2012 season that saw the A’s have a nine game losing streak and a sweep of the Texas Rangers to win the AL West all in the same season. What a year it was but now it is time to look ahead to 2013.
Gm Billy Beane did the unusual this offseason by going out and using young players to acquire proven Major League players, i.e. Chris Young and Jed Lowrie. He signed a high average offensive shortstop in Hiroyuki Nakajima. He made some low risk moves in resigning Bartolo Colon and Nate Freiman. He added relief help in Chris Resop. It was a busy offseason for Beane who after years of seeing an injury bug completely dismantle his team finally added the depth necessary to withstand such a depletion of players.
Some of the players who stuck around from last season will have to take another step forward if the A’s plan to compete with the Angels and Rangers. Josh Reddick, Yoenis Céspedes, Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Sean Doolittle, and Ryan Cook will not only have to duplicate their success form last season but improve upon it.
The A’s had a tremendous season last year with a lot of that being the product of timely hitting. If the Green and Gold can duplicate some of that success from last season and couple it with better offensive numbers from players such as Céspedes and Reddick the A’s offense can really take off and be a force.
The pitching staff will have to stay solid if the A’s have any chance of making the postseason again in 2013. Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone will have to be even better than last season. Brett Anderson will need to stay healthy all season as well. Straily or Colon will have to hold down the fort at the back of the rotation.
Jed Lowrie and the rest of the infield will have to be better than last season’s group as a whole. The A’s infield did little offensively aside from the Brandon Moss Chris Carter duo at first. The addition of Lowrie and John Jaso will certainly help take them in the right direction.
Along with all of this the A’s will need to beat up on the Seattle Mariners and newly joined Houston Astros. The more wins the better (obviously). It all starts with the series against the Mariners Monday night at the Coliseum.
This season is going to be an exciting one in Oakland. Opening night will be sold out but the A’s will need fans to continually show support if they hope to contend again in October. The electricity felt last season should only fuel the fire in heart of every A’s fan. I see the A’s again winning the AL West this season finishing just south of 100 wins. Beyond that who knows? Once you get in to the postseason anything can happen. Here’s to another exciting year of A’s baseball. Hope to see you at the Coliseum!