2005 Record: .543 (88-74), 2nd place in AL West
2004 Record: .562 (91-71)
Who’s Out: Octavio Dotel (P), Scott Hatteberg (1B), Ricardo Rincon (P), Juan Cruz (P), Freddie Bynum (INF), John Rheinecker (P), Ramon Alvardo (OF), Alberto Castillo (C), Erubiel Durazo (DH), Scott Hatteberg (1B)
Who’s In: Esteban Loaiza (P), Frank Thomas (DH), Milton Bradley (OF), Brad Halsey (P), Juan Dominguez (P), Kazuhito Tadano (P), Chad Gaudin (P), Antonio Perez (3B), Matt Roney (P)
Notes: The A’s came thisclose to making it to the post-season last year, surrendering the AL West spot to the Angels by just a few games despite having the best defense in the MLB and ranking 4th in the AL in ERA. As soon as the season ended, though, they went about their business acquiring more young players in hopes of an October finish in 2006. They added injury-prone potential superstar Milton Bradley to their outfield and solid starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza to their rotation, and got a steal of a deal on veteran power-hitter Frank Thomas ($500,000 for a year’s service from one of the most prolific hitters in recent history?! Yes, please!). They also boast one of the youngest lineups in the MLB: each player in their starting infield is younger than 29. Having such a young team does pose a potential instability threat as they get used to their positions and pro pitching, but by all accounts the AL West division is theirs to lose this year.
Next Up: Philadelphia Phillies
Labels: 2006 team profiles