The Athletics captured their first American League West title since 2013, but another year went by with them failing to advance deeper into the postseason than the Astros, who beat them in the AL Division Series. To resolve the issues that exist with getting past its division rivals to make a deeper playoff run, Oakland must first navigate through what could be a difficult offseason with 10 key players hitting free agency.
“We’re not unaware of some of the challenges that we have as it relates to the roster,” A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said. “It’s something that we’ve had to deal with in the past, and I think we’ve always reacted well to it. We’ve always been somewhat creative and found a way to address some of these things.
“These free agents are really good players. Certainly, our shortstop [Marcus Semien] comes to mind, and [Liam] Hendriks is one of the best closers in the game. It is going to be tough, but we’ll figure something out.”
With Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella now free agents, the Athletics have gaps in the middle infield. Chad Pinder and Tony Kemp — both of whom formed a platoon at second before Oakland’s midseason acquisition of La Stella — are in-house options for those spots. If the A’s can’t re-sign Semien, a replacement would likely have to come in a veteran-type infielder on the free-agent market. Available players who could make sense include veterans Freddy Galvis and Ehire Adrianza, as well as former Oakland infielder Eric Sogard.
Liam Hendriks is the top free agent closer now, so the Athletics will have to fill his position. In-house options for the ninth-inning role include Lou Trivino, Jake Diekman and Jordan Weems.
But Oakland might need to replace more than just its closer, as high-leverage right-handers Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria and left-hander T.J. McFarland are also free agents.
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