Wed, 31 May 2023

2023 Preview: Oakland Athletics

Field Level Media
24 Mar 2023, 00:19 GMT+10

Oakland Athletics

2022 record: 60-102, fifth in American League West

Offseason headlines: With their lease at the 57-year-old Coliseum expiring after the 2024 season, talks about the franchise's possible relocation to Las Vegas heated up again this offseason. The team continues to explore putting a new stadium in Oakland, but another 102-loss campaign like 2022 (its worst since going 54-108 in 1979) won't exactly build excitement in the Bay Area. In free agency, the A's signed infielder/outfielders Aledmys Diaz and Jace Peterson to two-year deals. Oakland also signed 28-year-old Japanese RHP Shintaro Fujinami in January and he'll start the season in the rotation. Other newcomers include veteran reliever Trevor May, LHP Kyle Muller, 1B/DH Jesus Aguilar and outfielders Esteury Ruiz and JJ Bleday.

Spring storylines: Cactus League highlights included a heated battle at the hot corner between newcomer Peterson and natural shortstop Kevin Smith, and RHP Adam Oller showing much-improved command and making a surprising push for a rotation spot. "This is probably the best Adam has thrown the ball," manager Mark Kotsay said in late February. On the injury front, 2022 All-Star and potential Opening Day starter RHP Paul Blackburn (finger) and backup C Manny Pina (left wrist inflammation) will begin the season on the shelf. 1B/OF Seth Brown was limited this spring with shoulder soreness.

Young guns: Oakland's top three prospects are all expected to contribute in 2023. 1B/C Tyler Soderstrom had 29 homers and 105 RBIs across three levels last season, finishing the year at Triple-A Las Vegas. LHP Ken Waldichuk is a rotation candidate after fanning 33 batters in 34 2/3 innings with the A's last season. 2B/3B Zack Gelof, a 2021 second-rounder, will likely begin in Vegas where he homered five times in nine games in 2022.

Fall feeling: Only the most diehard fans are hopeful that last season's finish in the AL cellar was just a fluke. Sure, Oakland made six playoff appearances in the previous 10 campaigns, but trading arguably your best player in C Sean Murphy (to the Braves in December) handcuffs Kotsay and will likely see him listed as a favorite on many "first manager to be fired" betting predictions.

Odds, even: Another season with triple-digit losses is in the forecast for talent-strapped Oakland, which faces some of the longest division-title odds in MLB at 20000 (PointsBet) and 25000 (DraftKings, FanDuel).

--Field Level Media

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