West Coast Stunner: Oakland Athletics Win American League West, as Texas Rangers Stuck With Wild Card


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:

  • Agreed to terms with OF Coco Crisp on a two-year contract.
  • Agreed to terms with RHP Brandon McCarthy and RHP Joey Devine on one-year contracts.
  • Agreed to terms with RHP Bartolo Colon on a one-year contract.
  • Agreed to terms with OF Yoenis Cespedes on a four-year contract.
  • Agreed to terms with OF Manny Ramirez on a minor league contract.
  • Traded Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Ryan Cook, Colin Cowgill, and Jarrod Parker
  • Traded Gio Gonzalez and Robert Gilliam to the  Washington Nationals for Brad Peacock, Tommy Malone, Derek, Norris, and AJ Cole
  • Traded Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Boston Red Sox for Josh Reddick, Raul Head, and Josh Alcantara
  • Traded Josh Outman and Guillerrmo Moscoso to the Colorado Rockies for Seth Smith

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:

  • Josh Reddick hit 33 home runs and had 84 RBI getting his first chance to start
  • Cuban defector Cespedes hit .291, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 82
  • Jarrod Parker went 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA
  • Tommy Millone went 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA
  • Brandon Moss, who was unable to get a chance with the Phillies last year, hit 21 home runs
  • Ryan Cook was a relief with a 2.12 ERA in 70 games, including 12 saves
  • Grant Balfour saved 24 games in 26 attempts, pitching 74 games total with a 2.57 ERA

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.

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