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 is 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 $4MM he was going to make. Since then, the questions surrounding the franchise 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 $40MM, a degree that even the low-budget Athletics haven’t seen in 20 years. Whereas that may sound like excellent news to A’s followers at first, it doesn’t essentially imply there gained’t be promoting, as Rosenthal reviews they’re nonetheless “prone to commerce virtually each participant with worth on their roster” however may then patch the holes on the membership “by signing a bevy of free brokers to one-year contracts.”
As to how this could work, Rosenthal factors to the 2014-2015 offseason. At the moment, the Athletics had been coming off a 3rd consecutive successful season, but launched into a large roster overhaul that included buying and selling away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija for prospects. This led to a few straight years of basement dwelling within the AL West whereas buying large leaguers – akin to Ben Zobrist, Rich Hill, Ryan Madson – who would later be flipped for additional prospects. Regardless of all of that promoting, the payroll didn’t considerably drop in these shedding seasons. Per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, it hovered within the neighborhood of $80MM from 2014 to 2017.
As to who is predicted to maneuver, Rosenthal lists many names which have beforehand popped up in rumors, akin to Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. All of that group have been imagined to be commerce chips on account of their arbitration raises and shrinking workforce management. Nevertheless, Rosenthal additionally says that “their out there components embrace even catcher Sean Murphy, who’s a yr away from arbitration,” and later provides that Murphy “can be a sizzling commodity in a market starved for catchers.” It has been actually been observed, including 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 choice on that listing. In 182 profession video games up to now, he has hit 28 dwelling runs and slashed .222/.321/.431, a wRC+ of 109. When mixed together with his glorious protection, he’s produced 5.4 fWAR.
Jason Martinez of Roster Resource presently pegs the membership’s 2022 payroll at $85MM, together with arbitration estimates. Delivery out all of the aforementioned gamers would subtract round $45MM and go away it sitting across the $40MM mark. However then, below this theoretical situation, the membership may then reallocate that cash in direction of short-term offers without cost brokers.
Even when the A’s do resolve to place this plan into motion, it gained’t be quickly. As Rosenthal notes, most of their potential buying and selling companions are preoccupied with attempting to signal free brokers earlier than the CBA expires on December 1, which is extensively anticipated to result in a transaction freeze shortly thereafter. Regardless of all that, he reviews that the Athletics have been “bombarded with commerce curiosity of their gamers” and are “nonetheless gathering and organizing info.” Which means any sell-off, no matter its eventual scope, will possible be crammed into the window between the thawing of the transaction freeze and the start of the 2022 season.