Ever because the Athletics let supervisor Bob Melvin pack his luggage and go to San Diego, it has appeared like an extended and darkish winter could be forward for the franchise and its followers. The skipper nonetheless had one yr remaining on his contract however was allowed to signal on with the Padres with out compensation, as Oakland appeared content material with saving the roughly $4M he was going to make. Since then, the questions surrounding the A’s have largely been about precisely how far they may go in stripping down the roster.
In a current piece from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, he relays that it’s unlikely they may backside out to such a level that their payroll drops as little as $40M, a stage that even the low-budget Athletics haven’t seen in 20 years. While that may sound like good news to A’s followers at first, it doesn’t essentially imply there gained’t be promoting, as Rosenthal studies they’re nonetheless “likely to trade almost every player with value on their roster” however may then patch the holes on the membership “by signing a bevy of free agents to one-year contracts.”
As to how this might work, Rosenthal factors to the 2014-15 offseason. At that point, the Athletics have been coming off a 3rd consecutive successful season, but they launched into an enormous roster overhaul that included buying and selling away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija for prospects. This led to three straight years of basement dwelling within the AL West whereas buying massive leaguers — corresponding to Ben Zobrist, Rich Hill, Ryan Madson — who would later be flipped for additional prospects. Despite all of that promoting, the payroll didn’t considerably drop in these dropping seasons. Per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, it hovered within the neighborhood of $80M from 2014 to 2017.
As to who is anticipated to transfer, Rosenthal lists many gamers who’ve beforehand popped up in rumors, corresponding to Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. All of that group have been speculated to be trade chips due to their arbitration raises and shrinking workforce management. However, Rosenthal additionally says that “their available parts include even catcher Sean Murphy, who is a year away from arbitration,” and later provides that Murphy “will be a hot commodity in a market starved for catchers.” It has been definitely been seen, together with by MLBTR, that the free-agent catching market in certainly weak this yr, with the most suitable choice being 34-year-old Yan Gomes. Murphy, who simply turned 27 and has 4 remaining years of management, would definitely be extra interesting than any possibility on that checklist. In 182 profession video games up to now, he has hit 28 residence runs and slashed .222/.321/.431, a wRC+ of 109. When mixed with his wonderful protection, he’s produced 5.4 fWAR.
Jason Martinez of Roster Resource at present pegs the membership’s 2022 payroll at $85M, together with arbitration estimates. Shipping out all of the aforementioned gamers would subtract round $45M and depart it sitting across the $40M mark. But then, underneath this theoretical situation, the membership may then reallocate that cash towards short-term offers totally free brokers.
Even if the A’s do resolve to put this plan into motion, it gained’t be quickly. As Rosenthal notes, most of their potential buying and selling companions are preoccupied with making an attempt to signal free brokers earlier than the CBA expires on December 1, which is extensively anticipated to lead to a transaction freeze shortly thereafter. Despite all that, he studies that the Athletics have been “bombarded with trade interest in their players” and are “still gathering and organizing information.” That means any sell-off, no matter its eventual scope, will likely be crammed into the window between the thawing of the transaction freeze and the start of the 2022 season.