Everything Must Go

“Roll up, Roll up! Step right this way! The A’s off-season sale is now on. Everything must go, especially all of our free agents! And if trading is more your thing, have we got some delights for you to consider?! From gold-glove fielders to quality starting pitchers, there’s something for everyone at the Fisher A’s Emporium.”*

(*) Note: GAP Discount cards cannot be used as part of any purchases.

The old adage that ‘it’s the hope that kills you’ often applies to the Oakland A’s, but when it comes to a typical A’s off-season it’s not quite so accurate. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: it’s the hopelessness that kills you.

We all knew to enjoy every moment of Starling Marte’s exploits in the Green and Gold after his deadline day move from the Marlins on the basis that there was precisely no hope we would re-sign him.

We took delight in Mark Canha wearing fastballs with ease knowing that after 2021 his much-abused elbow guard would be a different colour.

We revelled in the bounce-back season from Sean Manaea, and Chris Bassitt’s remarkably quick return from his traumatic head injury, because we knew that the one-year remaining on both of their respective contracts would make them prime trade candidates.

We celebrated Matt Chapman’s annual gold glove award, and Matt Olson’s mega season, as even two years under contract puts you in the ‘let’s see what offers are out there’ category.

And we hailed Bob Melvin becoming the all-time wins leader for an Oakland A’s manager, knowing that being under contract for one more year might not count for much if a more competitive team came in for his services.

Only the Marte, Canha and BoMel departures truly have come to pass as yet; however, as Bob Dylan once sang, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”.

He also sang “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose”, which may be as optimistic a silver lining as we’ll be able to find over the next couple of months.

Unlucky 13? (Possibly not for them!)

The A’s have more free agents (13) than any team in MLB and that is partly a consequence of the Front Office giving it one last roll of the dice before the inevitable break-up of this group of players.

The Rentals

  • Starling Marte
  • Yan Gomes
  • Josh Harrison
  • Andrew Chafin

The biggest compliment I can give all four is that, whilst they all must have expected their time with the A’s to be short, we never once saw them give anything other than maximum effort to the cause. Marte stood out, yet Chafin brought some much-needed quality to the bullpen, Gomes helped ease the burden on Sean Murphy behind the plate and Harrison provided an energy and a spark that all teams need.

The Rest

  • Mark Canha
  • Jed Lowrie
  • Sergio Romo
  • Yusmeiro Petit
  • Jake Diekman
  • Trevor Rosenthal
  • Mike Fiers
  • Mitch Moreland
  • Khris Davis

It’s possible both Lowrie and KD could return if they are keen to do so and happy to accept modest salaries, with Khrush in particular likely to find the A’s the best fit given his struggles over the past couple of seasons. Otherwise, there will be a lot of players who have played their last game for the A’s.

Other teams spending money

The two who have found new homes already have both joined the Mets, with Marte getting a four-year, $78M contract and Canha signing a two-year, $26.5M contract. No A’s fan will begrudge those guys getting paid, especially when joining a team that is clearly going all-out to try to build a winner. Max Scherzer looks set to join them in Queens on a three-year contract worth $130M, an average annual value of $43.33M that will likely equate to more than half that the A’s will spend on the entire 26-man Opening Day roster.

Similarly, all A’s fans will be happy to see Marcus Semien turn his excellent year with Toronto into the sort of life-changing multi-year contract that he deserves. Much as we would have preferred him not to sign with an AL West rival, the Texas Rangers were prepared to offer him a seven-year, $175M contract, so good on them. They’ve already added ex-Rockies pitcher Jon Gray on a four-year, $56M deal, and MLB Trade Rumors are reporting they are heavily involved in the bidding for shortstop Corey Seager too.

[EDIT: The first thing I did after clicking ‘publish’ on this post was go on Twitter, where it was being reported that the Rangers have agreed a 10-year, $325 million deal with Seager …]

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners are putting the finishing touches to a five-year, $155M contract with Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, whilst the Angels have started their annual Starting Pitcher fishing trip by reeling in Noah Syndergaard on a one-year deal.

It almost makes you think that the A’s aren’t even trying, which, of course, is exactly what is happening. Or, John Fisher isn’t interested in trying, at least.

Returning to the title of this blog, I can imagine David Forst singing along to the Manic Street Preachers song of the same name as he goes to sleep at night: “And I just hope that you can forgive us … but everything must go”.

We do forgive you, David, for we know this is not of your making. Sadly, the second verse of that song seems painfully relevant to the situation us A’s fans are now in once again.

“I look to the future, it makes me cry
But it seems too real to tell you why
Freed from the century
With nothing but memory, memory”
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