Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekly In-Depth Look: Oakland Athletics (38-27)

Out of all the low salary teams that we have examined, the Oakland Athletics have been arguably the most successful. From 2001-2002, the Athletics won 205 games (second to only the Seattle Mariners) with a team salary that ranked second-to-last in the league. Although they faced some struggles in the following years, a couple shrewd trades and signings put them back on course as they won 94 games and won their division. With a total team salary of $63,994,500, the Athletics rank 26th in the league in payroll, but 8th in winning percentage. They started the 2013 season out strong, but soon faced injuries and struggles from their key players, pushing them to the back of their division. Recently though, the Athletics have been back to their winning ways, taking 6 of their past 9 games. With the help of Bartolo Colon's surprise season, and Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick's return from the disabled list, it seems the Athletics are poised for another solid season. By developing a young core of pitching for their framework, the Athletics have been able to spend their money elsewhere, such as on short contracts to veterans that people underestimate. Coco Crisp and Bartolo Colon are great examples of this, as they were both signed to contracts under $10 million a year, but have performed way above the league's average. Cespedes's contract, which was for $36 million over 4 years, seems like one of the biggest bargains in recent years as he pushed his way into the top 10 for MVP voting last year. Billy Beane, the Athletics' General Manager, has been praised for his success in utilizing sabermetrics so much that several other teams have tried to follow in his footsteps, for example the Boston Red Sox used Beane's methods to put together their 2004 World Series winning-team. Not only do the Athletics have one of the youngest and strongest teams in the league, but they also have one of the deepest minor league systems that should continue to supply them with cost-efficient players to lead their team of the future.  

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