A’s need early wins to restart momentum
The A’s offseason was a tumultuous one.
Several key players from the 2014 roster who made their case for the best first half squad in baseball history were sent packing.
And the new guys have the burden of creating an instant impact.
When Josh Donaldson was traded for Brett Lawrie a few other unfamiliar names, the baseball world was buzzing. The A’s fanbase was alienated. Upset. Pissed off.
It’s business as usual for the A’s, though this time, things felt a little different.
The total haul for players like Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija and company, was a good one. There’s no doubt about it.
But whether the bounty will produce right away remains questionable, as talented as they all might be. A rough two months to open the season could create an air of uncertainty regarding the roster.
Who else might be traded away?
It’s been forecasted that the trade of Yoenis Cespedes at the 2014 deadline did just that, with the clubhouse put on notice.
Even if you perform well, maybe win a home run derby or two, it doesn’t matter. He gone.
While the theories are endless regarding the collapse, there’s no doubting that a feeling of unrest could sweep through like a south Florida storm and devastate anything in it’s path.
And especially if the team starts the season with a few more losses than expected. Oh my, that could get ugly.
The roster will need to string together some wins and avoid losing streaks. They’ll need to embrace the platoon, which is just how the A’s play, as counter-intuitive as it may be to any athlete.
Most importantly, they’ll need to do the little things right.
The young guys will need to protect themselves from being overly aggressive, and the older players will need to protect themselves from injuries.
While Bob Melvin has been handed some interesting situations as A’s manager, this is nothing totally new to him.
His first full season in Oakland was very similar. Gio Gonzalez departed for a few young guys, none of whom have made a real impact — if they’re even around still.
Oakland initially acquired Donaldson in 2008, a trade with the Cubs for pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. That really saved Melvin’s hide.
Brandon Moss was brought in as a free agent in 2011 after struggling at the plate for years. If not for Moss and Donaldson, it’s hard to believe the A’s would have been a winning ballclub.
And it’s highly likely that the bellows of the coliseum would have reeked of discontentment and disappointment. And the clubhouse? A semblance of the black plague.
This roster will need to perform. Not exceptionally well, but just good enough to stay around .500.
They’re entirely capable. Even of skyrocketing the way last year’s team did. But this is baseball, after all.
And while many things can go right, even more can go horribly wrong.