Monday, October 1, 2012

Shocking the World

We can shock the world, because it’s been done before. Coming from me, it’s not hearsay. I’ve done it, living proof – 25 dudes in the AL East, and we went to the World Series on a $42 million payroll.

-- Jonny Gomes, January 2012

Jonny Gomes may have been the only person alive who believed that this A's team could be as good as they have been. Even A's Assistant General Manager David Forst didn't really seem to believe the club could win now, either that or its a world-class head fake by the Harvard grad:

Offseason articles in the local and national media didn't express much hope:

Here is the San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins in January after the trade of Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals:

While the Angels and Rangers spend wildly, separating themselves from Oakland in a manner reminiscent of Microsoft vs. Ted's Bakery, the A's have essentially told their fans that the 2012 season will be a sort of minor-league carnival, complete with minuscule crowds, low-budget promotions, vaguely familiar names and the occasional shred of hope.

Here is CBS Sports' Danny Knobler in March:

The A's weren't going to be able to compete with the big-budget Angels and Rangers this year, so they swapped sort-of-young for very young, with hopes that they can compete a few years down the line. They also re-signed Coco Crisp, signed Manny Ramirez and spent big for Yoenis Cespedes, capping off one of the busiest winters in baseball. But unless Cespedes becomes a star (and he could), the most significant moves they made were to trade away the three pitchers.

If you're trying to win now, you don't do that.

2012 season preview pieces are just as bad:

Projected Finish -- Last
Best-case scenario: Early in the season, Oakland ownership gets word that the move to San Jose is a done deal, and the Athletics funnel all their efforts into building the team for 2015-16. Brandon McCarthy and Kurt Suzuki are traded for prospects, bolstering an already-deep farm system, and fans begin to rally around a promising young rotation of Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray.

ESPN's Grantland
Projected Finish -- Last
From Team Preview:
Big years for rookies (Yoenis) Cespedes, (Jarrod) Parker, and Brad Peacock, a successful (Kurt) Suzuki trade opens the door for Derek Norris to become a poor man's Mickey Tettleton, continued strides for (Jemile) Weeks and (Brandon) McCarthy, and a lot more good vibes than you'd expect from a team that's a long shot to finish above .500, let alone battle elite division mates Texas and L.A.

Sports Illustrated
Projected Finish -- 3rd
Video Preview (Including a gratuitous amount of Manny talk. Key phrase, "not a playoff team."

The Sporting News
Projected Finish -- Last
From Team Preview:
The A’s have all but assured themselves of a last-place finish this season after trading away so much major league talent, especially on the pitching side. Oakland received plenty of talent in return, but those prospects will not pay dividends for several more years.

It's a crazy, unpredictable game.

The A's magic number for a playoff appearance is now just 1 going into tonight.

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