The Oakand Athletics are in danger of not making the playoffs after a surprising poor second half. Which brings questions on what the roster will look like in 2022.
For the A’s next season there are only three players under contract. Short stop Elvis Andrus who has struggled mightily in 2021, right fielder Stephen Piscotty who has struggled to stay healthy, reliever Andrew Chafin who has been stellar since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs. Reliever Jake Diekman has a club option that likely gets picked up.
Here is where it gets interesting. Oakland has several key players that are arbitration eligible starting with first basemen Matt Olson and third basemen Matt Chapman. The others are starters Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, and Frankie Montas. Reliever Deolis Guerra, Burch Smith, and Lou Trivino. Center fielder Ramon Laureano. Utility men Chad Pinder and Tony Kemp.
Free agents include second basemen/designated hitter Jed Lowrie, center fielder Starling Marte, catcher Yan Gomes, left fielder Mark Canha, reliever Yusmeiro Petit, second basemen Josh Harrison, designated hitter Khris Davis, first basemen/designated hitter Mitch Moreland, reliever Trevor Rosenthal, reliever Sergio Romo, and starter Mike Fiers.
What is interesting is that Major League Baseball is coming up with the idea of a minimum salary floor for teams. It is reportedly set at $100 million and that is a mark that the A’s ownership has not gotten close to. Even with that it’s not likely Olson and Chapman are going anywhere regardless of arbitration projections.
Laureano certainly will come inexpensively especially as he sits for the first part of the season after being suspended. Kemp has come up with big hits and fits his role with the team perfectly. The A’s also must find a way to re-sign Marte and Harrison who have injected life to a struggling offense.
It is almost certain at this point that the A’s will lose a starter. Montas has come on of late and has pitched extremely well, Bassitt unfortunately got struck in the face with a line drive and is on the injured list, yet does want to pitch again this season. Manaea has struggled of late and of the three starters he’s the most expendable. As for the relievers Guerra and Trivino are the most likely to stay.
As for the remaining free agents Davis likely gets re-signed to become the primary designated hitter. Rosenthal who missed the entire season is likely going to get re-signed to become the closer. So what is the projected lineup and rotation for the A’s? It likely looks like this.
1. Josh Harrison, 2B
2. Starling Marte, CF
3. Matt Olson, 1B
4. Matt Chapman, 3B
5. Khris Davis, DH
6. Seth Brown, RF
7. Skye Bolt, LF
8. Sean Murphy, C
9. Elvis Andrus, SS
Tony Kemp, Util
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Austin Allen, C
1. Chris Bassitt
2. Frankie Montas
3. James Kaprielian
4. Cole Irvin
5. Daulton Jefferies/A.J. Puk/Paul Blackburn