In honor of Halloween, and the tricks or treats that come with it, I thought it would be appropriate to look at our boys in green and gold and see who falls where. On every MLB roster there are flaws, even the Boston Red Sox who just wont the World Series aren’t a 100% perfect team. Sometimes though the flaws can be downright frightening.
On the Athletics, there were a few flaws that stuck out, and ultimately cost the team in the postseason. So let’s take a look at the tricks and the treats of the Oakland Athletics.
Trick: Brett Anderson
Anderson is the ultimate trick disguised as a treat. His talent is through the roof, but he’s missed seemingly endless amounts of time with injuries all over his body. As if the Tommy John surgery wasn’t enough, add in the back problems, oblique strain, and the foot/ankle injury that essentially ended his 2013 season. It would be in the A’s best interest to attempt to pawn this trick off on an opposing team.
Treat: Sonny Gray
We all witnessed the maturation of Sonny Gray during the playoffs, and his talent really shows against the type of stiff competition teams face during the month of October. Gray has the very same “bulldog” mentality that has helped draw comparisons to Tim Hudson, and that is a very high compliment. The best part about Sonny Gray is that we’ve only just begun to see what he’s capable of.
Trick: Josh Reddick
I know, I know, this falls in the most predictable category. But it bears repeating. Josh Reddick hasn’t been the Josh Reddick many A’s fans idolize since July of 2012. The numbers reflect that. He has had the wrist injury, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Until Reddick returns to the form of early 2012, he will be firmly entrenched in the trick category.
Treat: Jarrod Parker
Over the second half of the season we saw Jarrod Parker get closer and closer to his high ceiling. We began to witness the emergence of an ace. At the beginning of the season he looked like he had regressed badly from his strong 2012. He figured it out, and the A’s reaped the benefits. Of course if his forearm tightness turns into a bigger problem, that will change everything, but for now he remains a treat.
I’m completely off the platoon bandwagon. Any legitimate lineup can have a couple platoons in place, but reliance so heavily on splits can lead to being trapped into favoring matchups over ability. Jonny Gomes would have sat on the bench for the entire ALCS if he had been with the A’s, and would’ve played sparingly in the World Series, but he was able to have a big impact even when the numbers say he shouldn’t. If the A’s want to replicate the success of the Red Sox, they must find players who can play in any situation, not ones who are so limited in what they can contribute.
Treat: Sean Doolittle
It’s amazing how far Sean Doolittle has come. It has reached the point where I often have to remind myself that he wasn’t always a pitcher. He was utterly dominant early in 2013, then hit a major rough patch where he couldn’t help but give up runs. But he battled through it and regained his effective form. Having come out on the other side, Doolittle is perhaps poised to inheret the closer job from Grant Balfour in 2014.
There are many more tricks and treats throughout the A’s roster, and your opinions on the ones I listed may differ from mine. Rest assured though that the A’s will battle through their demons, and hope to come out on the other side in 2014.