The Oakland Athletics are firmly in the playoff mix in the American League.
At 49-38, the team likely feels pretty good about its chances to crash the postseason party this year.
That said, there are a couple of areas that the Athletics would be wise to address at the upcoming trade deadline.
The team is very well-rounded on the whole, but there are a couple of weak spots.
Let’s get into them.
Elvis Andrus has handled the shortstop duties for the Athletics thus far, and it hasn’t exactly worked out.
Andrus is batting just .228 with a .574 OPS on the year.
His OPS+ of 64 suggests that he has been 36 percent worse than league-average in that category.
In the past, Andrus has been able to compensate for some tough offensive campaigns by adding some elite defense at shortstop, but that hasn’t been the case this year.
In fact, he has a negative defensive WAR.
The experiment hasn’t worked out, and Oakland should cut its losses.
Story is a career .275 hitter with an .868 OPS, and he averages 35 home runs per 162 games.
He is also outstanding defensively.
Did Trevor Story just make the play?
We're 3 outs away 👀 pic.twitter.com/hjHVbYHsyK
— MLB (@MLB) June 30, 2021
The Rockies will likely move him at the deadline, as his contract is expiring.
Galvis is also playing on an expiring deal.
He isn’t the star player that Story is, but he’d provide a slight upgrade over Andrus.
This season, Galvis is batting .249 with a .720 OPS and a decent OPS+ of 97.
1. Bullpen Depth
On the whole, Oakland’s bullpen has been very solid this season.
That’s a very solid bullpen core, but four arms likely won’t be quite enough in the playoffs.
The Athletics would be in a much better position if they were to add some depth in this area at the deadline.
Specifically, adding another lefty should be a priority, as Diekman is currently Oakland’s only reliable lefty in the ‘pen.
Taylor Rogers could be a good fit.
He’s a lefty who is under contract through the 2022 season.
Rogers has been great for the Minnesota Twins throughout his entire MLB career, pitching to a 3.05 ERA over six seasons.
This year, he has a 2.52 ERA, 2.04 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP.
He has fanned 50 batters in 35.2 innings and has issued just seven walks.
The asking price would likely be high, but it’s worth an inquiry.
Now, let’s add a righty into the mix.
Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel would be a massive addition for any team.
He has re-established himself this season as one of the most dominant relievers in the game after losing that distinction for a couple of seasons.
In 2021, Kimbrel has a ridiculous 0.59 ERA, 1.10 FIP, and 0.65 WHIP.
MLB FIP leaderboard, qualified relievers:
Josh Hader, 0.89
Craig Kimbrel, 1.10
Collin McHugh, 1.37
Ryan Pressly, 1.39
Aaron Loup, 1.40🗽
Anthony Bender, 1.60
Edwin Diaz, 1.81🗽#LGM
— Mets Analytics (@MetsAnalytics) July 7, 2021
He also has 53 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.
Like Rogers, the asking price will likely be high, but the Cubs seem to be headed in the direction of a hard sell.
Perhaps Kimbrel could come at a bargain.