Even after shocking the baseball world and finishing the regular season with 97 wins, the A’s still have some major assignments that they need to take care of before the 2019 season comes around. This list comes from the team overachieving in 2018 and proving that they are here to stay. These are all personnel related since the front office just took care of the ballpark design and the extensions of Bob Melvin and Billy Beane. Thanks, Mr. Kaval.
5. Re-sign Jonathan Lucroy
There are many tasks that the A’s need to take care of, but the first one that comes to mind is the re-signing of Jonathan Lucroy. The green and gold struck rich when they signed Lucroy to a club friendly 1-year, $6.5 million deal during Spring Training last year. His defensive presence behind the dish was vital for a pitching staff that was plagued by injuries. While the 32-year-old Lucroy struggled offensively in 2018, his defensive ability outweighs his declining production. He really displayed his defensive prowess with his league-leading 31 runners caught stealing. It would also be beneficial for the A’s to keep him around to mentor top catching prospect Sean Murphy who is currently struggling in the Dominican Winter League.
4. Solidify the Rotation
While the likes of Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Edwin Jackson were phenomenal for the A’s, you cannot have the bullpen go through what they did for a second year in a row. You cannot expect Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen to repeat their seasons either. Top Prospect Jesus Luzardo has shot up through the minor league system and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the big leagues sometime in late May or early June. However, the club needs middle-of-the-rotation pitchers to carry them over until 2020 when highly touted guys like A.J. Puk, Jharel Cotton, and Sean Manaea return from injury. Names of free agents that come to mind as potential targets include Gio Gonzalez, Anibal Sanchez, Tyson Ross, and Yovani Gallardo.
3. Re-sign Jed Lowrie
The 34-year-old middle infielder has seen his career trajectory skyrocket over the last 3 years with the protection of Khris Davis. Lowrie had career highs in home runs (23) and RBI (99) during the 2018 season. Lowrie will be looking to cash in and I think the A’s are willing to put the money in front of him to keep him around. I wouldn’t expect anything more than a 2-year deal. With Eli White, Franklin Barretto, and Jorge Mateo on the brink of the big leagues, it would be beneficial for the A’s to have Lowrie return and teach these young prospects how to be professionals.
2. Get a Bonafide Ace
I know I just talked about the pitching staff earlier, but we saw firsthand that you cannot go through the postseason relying on just your bullpen. If you’re David Forst and Billy Beane, you need someone who is willing to take the ball Game 1 of the World Series. With the payroll of the Oakland A’s, there is no chance to grab a Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel. However, there is a chance to grab someone who just came off of a World Series championship, Nathan Eovaldi. He is not your prototypical number 1 but he is a bulldog. Eovaldi pitched 22 innings allowing only 4 earned runs. The one fear of signing someone like Eovaldi is his injury history. He’s had Tommy John Surgery twice so it is unpredictable what will happen with his health. There are targets like Matt Harvey who struggled during the 2018 season. Nobody can be quite sure why he struggled so much whether it was the toxicity of the Mets organization or he was injured. Either way, Harvey was not right. If the A’s desire someone like Harvey, they will be able to get “The Dark Knight” for cheap this offseason and he will be able to help the rotation right away.
1. Extend Khrush
The last and most crucial thing for the Athletics to accomplish this offseason is to extend their Designated Hitter, Khris Davis. Davis, 30, is the first Athletic to hit 40 home runs since Hall of Famer, Jimmie Foxx. Davis was recently named the recipient of the Edgar Martinez Award which goes to the best Designated Hitter. Davis has publicly said he wants to be with the A’s long-term. In an interview earlier this year, Davis was quoted saying, “I envision myself winning a championship in Oakland. I think there’s a lot of tradition here. It’s got a rich history of championships. I feel like I could bring a championship to Oakland one day.” Having a slugger like Davis that enjoys playing in the Coliseum is a rarity so his extension is a must for the Athletics.
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College student writing about Baseball for @sunriseshorthop