In 2010 the A's finished 9 games back of the Rangers.
The Rangers pythag was 91-71.
The A's pythag was 85-77.
According to fangraphs, all of the OF the A's used this year combined for a 3.4 WAR.
All of the OF the Rangers used this combined for a 16.4 WAR.
Josh Hamilton had a 8.0 WAR
Carl Crawford had a 6.9 WAR (6.1 more than our incumbent Sweeney)
Adrian Beltre had a 7.1 WAR (4.2 more than our incumbent Kouz)
This shows that getting a high WAR star player should be paramount this offseason. Beltre is certainly an improvement over Kouz, but not as much as Crawford is over Sweeney or Raj. The closer we bridge the gap the better, here's why:
In interleague: the A’s went 4-8 against the Giants, Cardinals and Reds (all very good teams) and went 8-10 overall, while the Rangers went 10-2 against the Astros, Brewers and Marlins and 14-4 in interleague overall. That's 6 of our 9 game difference, folks. So, mathematically if things play out better for us schedule-wise, things will be even closer this year.
What does this mean though? Nothing because we went 81-81, that's in the books. But it does show that this year, we might not have been as bad/average a team as our record showed. I'm sure if we were given 9 games against the Astros, Brewers and Marlins we might have made a better shake of this. Here's a rundown of 2011's "Selig curse" (rant ahead) this worthless unbalanced schedule that's been an outright plague on the game since its inception. It is simply unfair to have one team play a cellar dweller while the other plays that seasons' WS victor. It should be completely done away with, interleague should not exist ever for any reason. (end rant)
SEA: Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nats, Padres
TEX: Phillies, Braves, Mets, Marlins, Astros
Luckily the Rangers and A's have a pretty equal interleague this year. We play the Giants+Dbax they play the Braves+Astros. We won't see the clear divide that existed this year thanks to Bud screwing everything up that's right and logical about the game, but it still should not even be there in the first place. I think its an interesting point for those who were on the fence about whether this season was a success or not, and shows how important we improve as much as we can in the offseason.