Wow, what a finish in the American League. The Texas Rangers, widely favored in the American League prior to the season, must settle for the Wild Card after getting swept by the Oakland Athletics in the season-end series in Oakland. The Oakland Athletics, not picked for the playoffs by any of ESPN's 50 analyists prior to the season, are American League West champions.
If the Orioles are a good story in the East, the Oakland Athletics are the hot story in the west. The Athletics seemed to spend the offseason subtracting players, not adding. Here is a rundown of the Oakland Athletics' offseason activity in signings and in trades:
The Athletics traded a 21-game winner, their closer, and signed a very old Manny Ramirez and a very old Bartolo Colon. They also traded their starting catcher at the trade deadline. It almost seems to defy logic that the Athletics would make the postseason, let alone win their division. But, the following went right:
No one hit .300. No one had 100 RBI. No one had more than 13 wins. Manny Ramirez never did play and Bartolo Colon was suspended for use of performance enhancing drugs. Johnny Gomes and Coco Crisp both stepped up and helped a ton. Stephen Drew and George Kottaras rounded out their July and August trade acquisitions. It just doesn't seem logical.
But, with 14walk-off wins, the Athletics always found a way. The will to win surpassed any logic or lack of talent. What we know about the Athletics is that you can never count them out. Between the Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles, there is plenty of interesting baseball ahead.