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Elephant Rumblings: Checking in on the AL West

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Game One-Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Athletics Nation! Hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season.

The A’s won their last AL West division title in 2020. They were last place in 2022, and looking at the Oakland A’s roster right now, post-winter meetings and big free agent signings, not-last place seems about the best A’s fans can realistically hope for in 2023. Staff at The Athletic assessed the AL West teams heading into the second half of the offseason, citing each team’s “met” and “remaining” needs.

According to Steve Berman, the A’s best moves included shoring up their infield depth with the free agent signings of Aledmys Díaz and Jace Peterson, and bolstering the bullpen with the signing of Oakland-positive Trevor May. He also notes that while the A’s return for Sean Murphy largely disappointed fans, targeting Esteury Ruiz reflected general manager David Forst’s desire to reinforce the team’s outfield depth in light of a disappointing 2022 at the plate for Cristian Pache.

As for remaining needs, Berman thinks the current roster is not much improved over the one that came in last this past season; thus, “player development, patience, and hope” are prescribed. Berman points out that Spring Training will include a lot of intriguing non-roster invitees, and of course the A’s have a lot of young pitchers to sort out. 2023 does indeed figure to be another rebuild year, but hopefully one from which the core of the next contending squad will more clearly begin to emerge.

Meanwhile, the Rangers got Jacob DeGrom, the Angels will probably continue to suck with a projected payroll of $206 million, the Mariners have marginally improved a roster that made the postseason, and according to Brittany Ghiroli, the Astros look “poised to go deep into October again.”

So, yeah. Not-last place and a few player breakouts in 2023 would count—relative to expectations—as a decent season from my current vantage point. How about yours?

A’s Coverage:

MLB News & Interest:

Best of Twitter:

Roster moves.

HBD Rickey Henderson! 12/25/58

HBD Zach Jackson! 12/25/94

HBD Dany Jiménez! 12/23/93

HBD Hogan Harris! 12/26/96