Coco Crisp’s 2015 was a bit of a pain in the neck – literally. Nagging injuries kept him off the field for all but 44 games. He’ll be paid $11 million in 2016, rendering him most likely ‘untradeable’ – but if he’s able to keep his injuries at bay and contribute once again, it’d help the A’s feel less frustrated by that contract.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsEd Szczepanski
Strike gold with Alvarez, Hill
The A’s love low-risk, high-reward pitchers and signed two of them this offseason. Henderson Alvarez, coming off a lost 2015 a season after making the NL All-Star Team with the Miami Marlins and lefty Rich Hill, who was stellar for the final few weeks of 2015 with the Boston Red Sox, will be given a look by the A’s in the starting rotation. If either (or both) pitch well, Oakland can pat itself on the back yet again for more shrewd signings.
Alan Diaz/AP Images
Wherefore art thou, Billy?
So far, Oakland hasn’t enjoyed much ‘Country Breakfast’ after signing Billy Butler to a three-year, $30 million contract. He hit just .251/.323/.390 in 2015, grounded into 26 double plays and only collected 44 extra-base hits on the year. If he can somehow shake his downward trajectory of offensive value and become a run-producing slugger again next season (and perhaps work on conditioning a bit more), the A’s could see him as a tradeable asset rather than the lineup and roster anchor he was in ’15.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SporJayne Kamin-Oncea
New year, new 'pen
The 2015 A’s were largely as bad as they were as a result of an ineffective bullpen. Sean Doolittle missing almost the entire season didn’t help matters, as other relievers pitched in new roles and almost all of them didn’t fare very well. This offseason, Oakland drastically shifted personnel, bringing in Ryan Madson, John Axford and Liam Hendriks and casting aside stalwarts such as Dan Otero, Fernando Abad and Evan Scribner. If Doolittle stays healthy, the A’s late-inning options will be plentiful…which could help turn things around quickly.
Watch Semien get better and better
For the first few months of 2015, the Marcus Semien Experiment at shortstop was messy. Despite a ton of errors (35, good for a .947 fielding percentage), Semien worked with coach Ron Washington extensively and tightened up his glovework over the final few months. With the A’s relying on him to be their long-term answer at shortstop, they’re counting on more development and maturation from him heading into 2016 and beyond. Coupled with his hitting skills, a well-rounded Semien would significantly improve the A’s roster on both sides of the field.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
Give Reddick an extension - or trade him
Now one of the A’s ‘elder statesmen’, right fielder Josh Reddick’s fate could go in two directions. They could sign him to an extension or trade him, something that a sluggish first few months of 2016 on the team level might make possible if he hits as well as he did in 2015 (.272/.333/.449). Considering the market for productive and defensively above-average outfielders at the moment, Reddick could net the A’s a nice haul as a pre-July 31 trade target if they find themselves out of the race again.