by Andrew Pasquini – Sports 1140 KHTK
The Oakland Athletics are coming off of a surprising season where they finished 97-65 and a playoff berth. While 2018 was an extremely successful season, Billy Beane will obviously be looking to continue the success into the 2019 season. With their payroll expected to stay around where it is, the Athletics might not make a huge move in free agency but have pieces on the their roster that could lead to a successful 2019.
Here are the three priorities for the Athletics for the offseason:
Extend Khris Davis
On February 12, 2016, the Athletics acquired Khris Davis from the Milwaukee Brewers. Since then, Davis has hit 135 home runs, drove in 335 runs, and has a .857 OPS in 454 games in Oakland. While being the Athletics most dangerous hitters, his contract has been year-to-year, signing one-year deals every offseason with Oakland. This is the offseason that should change. Davis is up for arbitration once again, and according to Matt Swartz of MLBTR, Davis’ arbitration number could be around $18 million.
Now would be the time to lock-up the 30-year old designated hitter. Davis is coming off a season where he posted career-highs in home runs (48), RBIs (123), hits (142), WAR (2.9), and wRC+ (135). Signing Davis long-term would keep his bat in the middle of the order not just for 2019 but years to come and having a player who can hit with his power in the lineup is always a good piece to build around.
Re-sign Jed Lowrie
While his numbers declined in the second half of 2018, Jed Lowrie had a solid age-34 season with Oakland. His slash line was above his career average in 2018 (.267/.353/.448 compared to .262/.335/.414) while hitting a career-high 23 home runs and driving in 99.
With Franklin Barreto behind Lowrie on the depth chart but not quite showing an ability to be consistent while playing yet, bringing Lowrie back will be key to locking down the second base position. While Barreto can be a key piece in the future, know what the A’s have with Lowrie makes the 2019 picture clearer than what it would be without him.
Even during an extremely successful season, the injury bug bit the Athletics quite a bit. Just in their rotation, the A’s lost Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs, Paul Blackburn, Daniel Gossett, and A.J. Puk. While Manaea will most likely be lost for the entirety of the 2019 season, the rest should be ready near the beginning of the season.
One of the biggest acquisitions the Athletics can make from November up until Spring Training is to hope that the injured players from last season can come back at 100% and positively impact the 2019 season.