It’s easy to forget that the Oakland Athletics, a team that finished 60-102 in 2022, were actually in the hunt for a playoff spot in 2021.
They actually made win-now moves!
They brought in Starling Marte to shore up the outfield back then.
In the end, they missed the postseason even after finishing with a strong 86-76 record.
After that season, the dismantling began: ownership decided to cut costs and trade their most expensive players to start a rebuilding period.
Take a look at the A’s lineup from two seasons ago: it was very, very strong.
“2021 Oakland A’s starting lineup C: Sean Murphy (traded); 1B: Matt Olson (traded); 2B: Josh Harrison (left in FA); 3B: Matt Chapman (traded); SS: Elvis Andrus (DFA’d); LF: Starling Marte (left in FA); CF: Ramón Laureano; RF: Mark Canha (left in FA); DH/UTIL: Chad Pinder (FA),” MLB analyst Danny Vietti tweeted.
2021 Oakland A's starting lineup
C: Sean Murphy (traded)
1B: Matt Olson (traded)
2B: Josh Harrison (left in FA)
3B: Matt Chapman (traded)
SS: Elvis Andrus (DFA'd)
LF: Starling Marte (left in FA)
CF: Ramón Laureano
RF: Mark Canha (left in FA)
DH/UTIL: Chad Pinder (FA) pic.twitter.com/rwfrhvYMq9
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) December 12, 2022
Laureano Is The Only “Survivor”
That group has only one survivor as of now: outfielder Ramon Laureano.
Even Laureano himself knows that he will likely get traded or depart as a free agent.
It’s just the way the A’s operate.
Contract extensions are rare, and big free agent signings are even more unusual.
They are a team that builds from the draft, trades, and the international free agent market.
They don’t have the big bucks to compete for big signings in free agency; or should we say the willingness?
The future of the franchise is uncertain: they have no proper stadium, their roster looks Triple-A-quality, and they don’t look like they will compete in the foreseeable future.
For now, we still have the memory of a contending team that fell just shy of making the postseason in 2021.