Oakland AthleticsLast season: 75-87 (4th in AL West)
This season's prediction: 3rd in AL West
Key acquisitions: Ben Sheets (free agent); Kevin Kouzmanoff (trade, San Diego); Adam Rosales (trade, Cincinnati)
Departures: Scott Hairston (trade, San Diego); Bobby Crosby (free agent); Aaron Miles (trade, Cincinnati); Dana Eveland (trade, Toronto)
Even though it's two weeks into the season, for the sake of completeness, I present my 2010 Athletics team preview. The A's, unlike all of the other teams I previewed, actually seem to be doing something along the lines of my prediction (which from this point forward will be referred to as "guesses"). In fact, they're overacheiving, currently first in the AL West. I know, it's still early, and a lot can happen between now and October, but I'm confident that the Athletics will finish in at least 3rd.
Just kidding, of course. Even I wouldn't pick a key player that isn't playing for the team. I just wanted to show off my gold parallel card of Crosby.
The real key player based on cards in my collection is Justin Duchscherer. Much has been made about the Ben Sheets signing, and how he provides a veteran presence in the rotation, but the A's already had a leader. What I want to know is, how will The Duke handle coming back from an absolute nightmare of a season last year? And how is his mental health? I hope, for his sake, he's got things under control. Because that's what's really important, not baseball.
The Bottom Line:
The Athletics good start should give them some confidence later on down the track. Of course, it needs to be said that their record was fattened by playing four games against the Orioles last week. But the four starters (Sheets, Braden, the Duke and Brett Anderson) are all off to a good start. I'd say a .500 (or better) season is in the cards.