Entering Tuesday’s series opener against Toronto, the A’s were 51-44, held a half-game lead for the second wild card spot and were just a game behind the Angels for the top wild card position.
Does this mean that Billy Beane, who is typically one of the busiest, GMs at the July and August trade deadlines, will be buying instead of selling? It appears so.
Even with standout left-handers Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden on the 60-day disabled list and reliable right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the 15-day DL, the A’s have a thriving rotation that includes veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon and four younger arms – 25-year-old lefty Tommy Milone, 23-year-old righty Jarrod Parker, 29-year-old Travis Blackley and 24-year-old righty A.J. Griffin.
Anderson is currently logging rehab starts at Triple-A Sacramento as he works his way back from undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2011. He could rejoin the A’s in August. Braden, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, is throwing again and could be back sometime next month, too.
The A’s bullpen is a strength, bolstered by rookie closer Ryan Cook, but the lineup is what could prevent the club from securing a post-season spot. Oakland is last in the majors overall on offense, mainly because of its .228 team average and a .680 team OPS.
Right fielder Josh Reddick, the off-season acquisition from the Red Sox who has clubbed 21 home runs, provides pop, but the A’s must have their starting pitchers to silence the opposing team’s lineup to win. Oakland is not a team that will win many slugfests.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the A’s are one of numerous teams interested in troubled Miami third baseman Hanley Ramirez. Heyman also wrote that Oakland would like to acquire Padres third baseman Chase Headley, but Beane is reluctant to deal top prospects, which would surely include some of the starting pitching surplus.
After sweeping the New York Yankees in a four-game series last weekend, the A’s showed that their starting pitching can shut down a potent lineup. The questions are, can their own lineup score enough to get a wild card spot and win in October, and will Beane part with his coveted pitching to add an impact bat?