Yes, we haven’t posted anything to this site for a year and a half.
No, it wasn’t because the last post up here ended up being the most perfect possible summation of the 2015 season, rendering any additional posts superfluous (lucky break, that one).
Yes, the 2016 Oakland Athletics roster features so much turnover from the 2015 version that the team is once again virtually unrecognizable.
And yes, CurveBallCity carries a civic duty to gives its readers the rundown on all the new faces they’re likely to see this year.
Let’s get it on.
Let’s rock and roll.
. . .
Rich Hill (free agent signing) – Rich Hill is fascinating. He was a big time prospect 11 years ago, but recent history saw him largely finished as a starter since 2010. His most recent history, however, has him making four starts for the Red Sox at the end of last season in which he was basically prime Randy Johnson. If Aaron Brooks (no longer with us – see below!) had turned into prime Randy Johnson for four starts at the end of last season, I would have dismissed it as a fluke. When Rich Hill did it, the A’s gave him six million dollars. Rich Hill is a wild card, and I absolutely expect him to suck. But . . . maybe he won’t? That’s exciting.
Henderson Alvarez (free agent signing after being waived by the Marlins) – An All-Star in 2014. Four terrible starts and season-ending shoulder surgery in 2015. Cy Young Award in 2016. Hit by a truck in 2017. Bank on it.
Ryan Madson (free agent signing) – Pros: Madson was dominant last year. Cons: Madson is 35 years old, didn’t pitch from 2012-2014, is expensive, and is signed for three years. Also he’s a relief pitcher, and all relief pitchers are terrible. This will end in tears.
John Axford (free agent signing) – Copy/paste the bit about Ryan Madson, only take out the part where Madson was dominant last year, or in any year since 2011.
Liam Hendriks (traded from the Blue Jays for Jesse Chavez) – I don’t know who this is. We got him for Jesse Chavez though, so as a proper memorial, I will hate this trade for maybe four or five games occurring sporadically over the course of the season, and love it for every single other game.
Yonder Alonso (traded along with Marc Rzepczynski from the Padres for Drew Pomeranz and Jabari Blash) – Oakland has been trying to replace Jason Giambi’s production at first base for 15 years now. Alonso will not be the guy to do it. But while I do not expect him to quite reach Brandon Moss’s place on the Callaspo to Giambi spectrum, I expect he’ll fall considerably ahead of your Brandon Allens, particularly on the defensive side of things. Most importantly, he should easily outstrip what we got out of Ike Davis last year. Moreover, trading for him means that I will spend considerably less time this year spewing profanities at Drew Pomeranz, so net win.
Marc Rzepczynski (see above) – I . . . sort of recognize the name . . . like maybe he was a good reliever in 2006 or so . . . for the Cardinals? The Brewers, maybe? This is a bad sign.
Jed Lowrie (traded from the Astros for Brendan McCurry) – HEY, JED’S BACK EVERYBODY! JED LOWRIE! YOU REMEMBER JED, RIGHT? (Muffled sounds of 20,000 feet uncomfortably shuffling toward the exit. CurveBall Brother Justin vomits in the corner.) HE’S NOT GONNA PLAY SHORTSTOP THIS TIME, I PROMISE.
Andrew Lambo (selected off waivers from the Pirates) – Traditional scouting reports on Lambo neglect to mention his exposure to radioactive waste at a young age, much less any potentially resulting superpowers resulting therefrom. Potential fantasy sleeper.
J.B. Wendelken (traded along with Zack Erwin from the White Sox for Brett Lawrie) – We may see Wendleken in Oakland this year and we may not, but regardless, he will forever remind me of the scathing series of articles by Susan Slusser that were released approximately thirty seconds after the conclusion of the 2015 season in which multiple sources referred to poor chemistry and the “unfortunate clubhouse mix” that may or may not have doomed the season (it definitely doomed the season). Susan never identified any problematic individual(s) by name, but did assert that the club would likely make trades in the offseason with the specific purpose of remedying the issue. In other words, Wendleken’s presence on the team is basically David Forst holding a comically large arrow covered in sequins and light bulbs pointing toward the dugout and shouting, “IT WAS BRETT LAWRIE! BRETT LAWRIE WAS THE CLUBHOUSE CANCER! QUICK, LET’S TRADE HIM FOR TWO MIDDLING RELIEF PROSPECTS AND FORGET THIS EVER HAPPENED!” Also, “PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FORGET THAT WE ACTUALLY TRADED 2015 MVP JOSH DONALDSON TO GET LAWRIE, AS THAT’S NOT REALLY RELEVANT AT THIS JUNCTURE!”
Daniel Mengden (traded along with Jacob Nottingham from the Astros for Scott Kazmir) – Unlikely to see him in Oakland this year, but sweet facial hair, bro.
Khris Davis (traded from the Brewers for Jacob Nottingham and Bubba Derby) – Moss’s power with Coco’s arm. Under contract for four more years. I like him. Davis is the kind of player that doesn’t usually roll into Oakland – we’re used to either the shiny new rookies who aren’t hitting their peak just yet (Billy Burns, say) or the talented veterans a year away from hitting free agency (i.e., Ben Zobrist). We have far less experience with quality players in the middle of their prime with no danger of taking off for greener pastures at the end of the season (or, more realistically, being traded mid-season). Davis is a 30-homer guy, and I’m more than happy to watch his floppy, elf-like arm miss the cut-off man for the next four years as long as he’s slugging .500, even if the team gave up its catcher of the future to get him. Besides, that just leaves room for . . . (checks depth chart . . . checks 40-man roster . . . checks minor league rosters . . . checks 2016 draft class) . . . okay, Vogt will have to catch for the next 12 years. I still like Davis.
Trey Cochran-Gill (traded from the Mariners for Evan Scribner) – There’s no way this is a real person.
Sean Manaea (traded along with Aaron Brooks from the Royals for Ben Zobrist) –They should have sent a poet.
Chris Coghlan (traded from the Cubs for Aaron Brooks) – If you have any hope for the 2016 Oakland Athletics, you have it because you believe in Chris Coghlan. Coming in a trade for a pitcher best described as “Jesse Chavez, but not as good,” Coghlan is Ben Zobrist-lite, but younger and with better health. He can play just about every position on the field. He is cheap. Most importantly, he gets at-bats that last year were going to Eric Sogard and Sam Fuld (both of whom I love, but neither of whom should be starting for a championship team). Coghlan is not a star, but he is exactly the kind of player you expect to see on a winning team.
Matt Chapman (2014 1st round draftee) – Babe Ruth, except he also co-created Homestar Runner. Hold on to this guy.
0-0, Tied for 1st in the American League West