Crasnick On The A’s Offseason

The Athletics, much like the Brewers, enjoyed a surprisingly fine offseason, and, not surprisingly, had to get a little bit creative to do so. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com caught up with A's GM Billy Beane, and here are the highlights:

  • Beane said that, because of the A's financial constraints, their offseason strategy is often dictated by the moves they can't make. Oakland, after all, has a payroll that's about one-quarter the size of the Yankees', writes Crasnick. So, some players are simply going to get better offers from other teams.
  • Such was the case this offseason, when the A's were turned down by free agents Lance Berkman, Adrian Beltre and Hisashi Iwakuma.
  • Instead, the A's chose to make modest, "incremental" changes to their offense, according to Crasnick, improving the corner-outfield spots by trading for David DeJesus and Josh Willingham, and adding free-agent DH Hideki Matsui. And, elsewhere, they wanted to further augment their strengths: pitching and defense. Their strong, young rotation is the team's backbone, and that advantage is compounded by their home park's spacious dimensions and sizable foul territory.
  • Signing a pair of not-cheap relievers in Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour may seem somewhat uncharacteristic of a scrupulous GM like Beane, especially when he himself has already cultivated a fine bullpen comprised of effective, cost-controlled types, but he had his reasons. "They're too good to be out there, and we had money to afford them," Beane told Crasnick.
  • As well, the A's wanted to defray the workload on the guys already in the bullpen, who logged the 12th-fewest innings in the AL in 2010, according to Crasnick, but were worn down from a taxing 2009 in which they were called upon too frequently.

For a comprehensive list of all the A's offseason moves, check out our Transaction Tracker.


25 Responses to Crasnick On The A’s Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. Pete 4 years ago

    Beane buying any kind of pitcher makes perfect sense right now as not only is the Coliseum very friendly to pitchers, but the infield defense he put together, which is arguably the best in baseball, will also increase pitcher value by having them outperform their FIP by a long way. Pitchers generally speaking tend to flourish in Oakland rather than fail.

    The A’s will have a wealth of riches if Josh Outman, Tyson Ross, Brandon McCarthy, Rich Harden, Joey Devine Fautino De Los Santos & Bobby Cramer all end up healthy. However Willingham-Crisp & DeJesus are all free agents after this season which leave the A’s with no discernible outfield barring a Conor Jackson miracle. If everyones healthy, Beane would definitely be looking at trading for a big name outfielder he could make the face of the franchise. Do Chris Carter, Grant Green & two of the pitchers listed above get Justin Upton come the trade deadline this year?

    • Being a D-Backs fan myself, dont expect anything from Conor Jackson. As for Justin Upton, he’s not going anywhere. Kevin Towers was just seeing what Upton is worth right now, plus KT himself said that Upton is not going anywhere. After trading away players like Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Quentin, and losing Dan Uggla in the Rule 5 Draft, the D-Backs front office can’t afford losing a player turn into a superstar. Us D-Backs fans are getting pretty restless, fast.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      Justin Upton has 4 teams on his limited no-trade list. And the A’s are one of the teams (along with the Mariners, Royals and Tigers).

      I’d never want to see them make that trade, anyway. Upton has a career OPS of .742 on the road. And even after he matures some more, I wouldn’t expect his overall OPS to get much higher, if he was playing half his games inside the Coliseum. He’s a fine player. But he wouldn’t be the power source that the A’s need.

      Plus Carter and Green look/sound like they’re gonna be the real deal. And I’m not writing Michael Taylor off, either. And it sounds like the A’s and Willingham are both open to working out an extension.

      My biggest concern for their 2012 offense right now is lack of left-handed bats.

    • Casor_Greener 4 years ago

      Last I heard the Coliseum has played like an average ballpark since 2007. (Keith LAw)

      Not to mention the pitching played way above expectations.

  2. AthleticsFan 4 years ago

    Here are your 2011 West Champs OAKLAND ATHLETICS !!!!!!

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      They still have to actually, you know, win the division first.

    • Casor_Greener 4 years ago

      a decent season and you are already declaring them champions? they have no better shot than the ranger or angels. the only thing close to guaranteed right now is that they will be better than the mariners

      • not_brooks 4 years ago

        Optimism should be allowed though, right?

        I mean, unless you’re an Astros fan…

  3. Airp0w 4 years ago

    “As well, the A’s wanted to defray the workload on the guys already in the bullpen, who logged the 12th-fewest innings in the AL in 2010, according to Crasnick, but were worn down from a taxing 2009 in which they were called upon too frequently.”

    So if I’m getting this right, the bullpen was worn down at the end of 2009. Then they had an entire offseason to rest, and then a year where they were one of the least called upon bullpens. Then another entire offseason. And they are still worn down?

    That doesn’t really make sense to me.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      It does sound odd, the way they phrased that. But their top bullpen arms have definitely been overworked the past couple years. Breslow and Ziegler have managed to hold up quite well, so far, but it’ll probably be best if their workload isn’t huge for a third straight season. And Bailey had a month-long DL stint in 2010, plus offseason elbow surgery. Wuertz barely avoided thumb surgery, and has had lingering shoulder trouble since last spring (that is bothering him again as I write this). And Blevins had offseason surgery on a torn labrum in his hip.

      Hope that makes a little more sense of their situation. When you count all the random minor league pitchers they used to eat up late innings in 2010, then it doesn’t seem like the bullpen was all that overworked. But their best relievers — Bailey, Breslow, Wuertz, Ziegler and Blevins — clearly need as light of a workload as possible, this season. And with Balfour and Fuentes now in the mix, the A’s can give everyone plenty of rest, and still always have a quality reliever to turn to (so long as injuries don’t pile up too high).

      • robnet707 4 years ago

        Dont forget Joey Devine and possibly Outman(if he’s not the fifth starter) are coming off Tommy john surgery.Mccarthy and Harden coming off surgery as well.Lots of injury concern with this staff so it will pay to be cautious.

    • sportsfan07 4 years ago

      Yeah with the way that it’s phrased it sounds like it means that they went the 3rd most innings in the AL but I really believe that they mean that the bullpen went the 3rd fewest innings in 2010 not the 12th fewest.

    • Titus_00 4 years ago

      Perhaps I am reading to much into it, but I see it as the bullpen was overworked in 2009, leading to the need to under-utilize them in 2010. This in turn lead to the young starters being pushed longer then the ideal in 2010. By strengthening the depth of the bullpen, they can be used more in 2011 with less worry of overworking them, and thus avoiding pushing the young starters to hard in 2011.

  4. Originally my pick to win the division, but I’ve changed my mind. They just don’t have the offense besides a declining Hideki Matsui. Their offense isn’t just bad, it’s pitiful. You know this when you hear that DeJesus, Willingham, and Matsui are their “offensive acquisitions.” Adrian Beltre would have not done anything spectacular if he signed seeing as he’s a two year wonder and he’d have no protection around him. I can almost guarantee the Angels or Rangers will be back on top of the division this year.

    • jpshark 4 years ago

      Willingham is a fine hitter, and DeJesus isn’t exactly lacking offensive ability. Your talking about a .380 and a .360 wOBA player respectively. They are lacking that real, impact middle of the order slugger but with a well balanced lineup that’s not absolutely neccessary to have a formidable lineup. I’ve said this many times before, but i’ll say it again….a league aveage lineup (at least what the A’s have) to go along with top tier pitching a defense is good enough to form a championship caliber team. I’m not about to claim a 2011 championship for Oakland, but when you line them up with the other teams in the division things look pretty good.

    • ugotrpk3113 4 years ago

      Are you talking about the A’s of this year? Or the SF Giants of last year?

      Just saying…

    • jpkinney7 4 years ago

      Last year, the A’s had the worst OF in the MLB and injuries killed them (Coco Crisp) – If Willingham, Crisp, and Dejesus can all play 145 games this year, it will be a huge improvement. The starting pitching is one year older/wiser, and the bullpen is much improved from last year. If healthy, this team should have no problem getting to 85-90 wins. With Health + Overall improvement from young players, a 90+ win season is definitely possible.

      • I’ve seen Coco Cris while he’s on the ]Red Sox. He’s a horrible hitter. I’m not denying that Willingham, DeJesus, and Matsui are bad, I just don’t see them perfoming well in a pitcher’s ballpark.

        Matsui’s okay but his best years are behind him. Willingham is nothing special. DeJesus is pretty good. But Oakland’s lacking power, and there’s no guarantee that these guys will get things done in a pitcher’s ballpark. Remember when they had a big bat with Matt Holliday? That didn’t work out even when they tried to get him protection.

        If Oakland wants a good team, they need legitimate bats, and at least 3 or 4 of them. These guys aren’t going to get it done. San Francisco was an NL team and got lucky with their offense to even make it to the postseason. If this team makes it, they certainly have a chance of winning, but making it in the tough AL is not an easy task.

        • jpkinney7 4 years ago

          Look. The A’s Pythagorean Record in 2010 was 85-77

          2010 Outfield was: Eric Patterson, Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, Gabe Gross, Coco Crisp (75 Games), Matt Carson, Jeff Larish, Matt Watson

          2011 Outfield will be (if healthy): Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Ryan Sweeney, Conor Jackson

          Does this upgrade help the A’s? I say yes.

    • Not only did the A’s did add “incrementally” better bats, they subtracted the weaker ones. No more Matt Carson/Gabe Gross/Jake Fox/Eric Patterson at bats stinking up the joint, leaving men on base and contributing to a below average offense.

      The A’s did retain a few offensively productive players. Barton, while not providing much pop did lead the league in walks. Suzuki when not overworked can hit for average and some power. Ryan Sweeney batted third for most of last year! Now he’s a .294 hitter coming off the bench.

      Sorry but on paper, the A’s depth makes them a different team than last year.

  5. Carter2Taylor2Cardenas2Weeks 4 years ago

    I can feel a special season from the A’s this year with Chris Carter coming up mid year (or earlier) and making a Buster Posey-like impact…then Billy Beane will see the club is a big power bat away and will make a midseason Kevin Appier/Johnny Damon/Jermaine Dye-esque trade at the deadline with a team throwing the white flag and selling off pieces.

  6. jpkinney7 4 years ago

    The A’s Pythagorean Record in 2010 was 85-77

    2010 Outfield was: Eric Patterson, Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, Gabe Gross, Coco Crisp (75 Games), Matt Carson, Jeff Larish, Matt Watson

    2011 Outfield will be (if healthy): Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Ryan Sweeney, Conor Jackson

    Does this upgrade help the A’s? I say yes.

  7. Pete 4 years ago

    Beltre has a 750 OPS for his career in the A’s park over 54 games, that’s an improvement over Kouzmanoff, and exactly why they pursued Beltre. Beltre also had a massively better road OPS than hitting at Fenway last year. Real odd case.

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