|2007 Postmortem: The Oakland Athletics||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on December 27, 2007
third in the AL West 18.0 games back
Home Runs: Jack Cust 26
Average: Shannon Stewart .290
RBI: Jack Cust 82
Runs: Nick Swisher 84
Steals:Â Shannon Stewart 11
Wins: Danny Haren 15
ERA: Danny Haren 3.07
Strikeouts: Danny Haren 192
Saves: Alan Embree 17
Highlight of the season:Â ?
Low point of the season:Â Finishing just a game above the cellar after 8 straight seasons of division championships had to be a disappointment but the the team didnâ€™t feel that bad coming into the last two weeks of the season.Â Then a ugly schedule left them facing Seattle, Boston, Cleveland and the Angels.Â They finished their last 12 games by going 2-10 and finished just a solitary win above the Rangers for last place.
Best move of the season:Â Even though Custâ€™s name was prominent in the Mitchell report, adding him via trade in May to sub for injured DH Mike Piazza paid off big for the Aâ€™s.Â Cust lead the team in home runs and RBIs and gave the Aâ€™s a big imposing bat for the center of the lineup.Â Â His numbers overall may not look impressive when stacked against other players at the DH position but have to be corrected slightly since Cust did get less than 400 at bats.
Worst move of the season:Â When Billy Beane signed Mike Piazza for $8.6 million he was hoping that the future Hall of Fame catcher had one last good season with the bat left in him.Â He didnâ€™t.Â Piazza spent a large portion of the season on the Disabled List and managed just 83 games and 309 at bats.Â Â While he wasnâ€™t by any means awful and hit a respectable .275 his 8 home runs and .313 OBP were considerably less than the Aâ€™s had hoped for.
Key Player:Â Danny Haren.Â The recently traded Danny Haren was the face of the Oakland boys in 2007 as he lead the team in just about every pitching category and was one of the two starters with a winning record.Â Â He was the teamâ€™s rock on the pitching side and without him the Aâ€™s may have real hole in their staff unless they can get a healthy bounce back season from Rich Harden whoâ€™s coming off a shoulder injury.
Up and Coming Player:Â Carlos Gonzalez.Â Acquired from the Diamondbacks early in December, Gonzalez is considered to be a true â€ścanâ€™t missâ€ť prospect who you can expect to see in 2008.Â Â Heâ€™s a five tool player although his speed is the weakest aspect of his game.Â His experience at levels above AA is limited so heâ€™ll probably start 08 at AAAÂ and get his first real taste of the majors in the second half.
What went right:Â The pitching was actually pretty good.Â Even with a serious injury to Rich Hardenâ€™s shoulder the team managed to come up with a very respectable starting staff - lead bv Danny Haren (3.07) and including Joe Blanton (3.95), Lenny DiNardo (4.11), Chad Gaudin (4.42)Â and Joe Kennedy (4.37).Â
Overall the staff ranked sixth in the AL in terms of ERA with a 4.28 just 0.05 worse than the divisions winning Angels.
What went wrong:Â Â The team ranked 11th in the AL in terms of Runs Scored and 19th out of 30 teams overall.Â Simply put, even with a DH this team wasnâ€™t capable of putting runs on the board.Â Looking at the anemic numbers of RBIs and runs scored by the team leaders this is pretty evident.
Injuries and bad guesses on the part of General Manager Billy Beane who attempted to upgrade the offense with players like Mike Piazza played a part in that, but the blame can just as easily be laid at the doorstep of small payroll, or slower than expected development.
Offseason Preview:Â Once again the Aâ€™s are trying to reinvent themselves and since the budget is tight theyâ€™ll do it via player development and trades.Â That means slapping their biggest asset, pitching, onto the trading block and seeing what they can get in terms of prospects in return.
And so far theyâ€™ve done well.Â For team ace Danny Hardin the Aâ€™s walked away with a haul of top prospects from the Arizona Diamondbacks including â€ścanâ€™t missâ€ť outfielder Carlos Gonzalez who was probably the only one of that group whoâ€™ll make a impact in 2008. But the Aâ€™s arenâ€™t likely to be done yet.
No doubt the Aâ€™s will add some depth and plug a few holes via free agency if they can land a bargain or two but trading is likely to be their forte if there is an advantageous deal out there to me made.