The Oakland Athletics had no answer for Justin Verlander Thursday night. Rookie Sonny Gray simply could not repeat another perfect performance. Oakland also could not put any runs on the board.
This has been a problem in Oakland for quite awhile. The Athletics averaged three runs per game against the Detroit Tigers this series, which is normal. The Athletics do not provide much run support; rather, they rely on their pitching staff. I think everyone knew after a deflating Game 4 loss that Oakland blew their chance to advance in the playoffs.
The inexperience the Athletics carry every year hurts them tremendously. Since 2000, the Athletics are now 1-7 in playoff series.
Following the loss, where do the Athletics stand now? They have an abundant amount of players that need to be re-signed to have a chance next year. As usual, this will probably won’t happen. The Athletics will keep inexpensive players and let go of high-end players to other teams.
Every year, the Athletics have several new players to add to the team, many coming as potent prospects. Here is a list of potential free agents leaving the Athletics: John Jaso, Jed Lowrie, Josh Donaldson, Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Scott Sizemore, and Nate Freiman.
The beloved pitching staff will be gutted as well: Bartolo Colon, Grant Balfour, Tommy Milone, A.J Griffin, Jarrod Parker, Sean Doolittle, Dan Straily, Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins, and Pat Neshek. Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson will be club options.
The Athletics will have a very dangerous offseason. This team could, and are very likely to have a completely different team next year. Yoenis Cespedes is basically the only player that will remain on the team.
Respectably, I see Billy Beane re-signing low-risk, low-salaried players that he can afford. Oakland is a small-salary team that cannot compete with the richer teams out there. The Athletics have a great farm system, and really work with what they have. Oakland will look to bounce back next season as they usually do. Beane will need to create the pieces to pursue a third consecutive AL West title.