After a surprising 2012 season that had at first been posed as a “re-building” year for the Athletics, the Oakland-based MLB franchise shocked baseball by making a late season run into the playoffs, having been five games back with only nine games to go.
Passing both AL West heavy-hitters, the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, the A’s stormed into the playoffs only to lose in Game 5 of the American League Division Series, suffering at the arm of Justin Verlander and the rest of his crew from Detroit.
Possessing one of the youngest rosters going into 2012, manager Bob Melvin had his work cut out for him. Lucky for him the hard work paid off, as the Athletics saw-off early season hiccups on their way to an AL West pendant, and as a result, Melvin won AL manager of the year. Further ensuring good things to come from the young but potent lineup the A’s possess.
In the off-season, the Athletics have only traded away OF Michael Morse, to Seattle, and with the way things went last season few are questioning the franchise. They have, however, began making even more clear plans for the future. With an undeniably successful 2012 season, Melvin was deservingly handed a two-year extension on his contract, the Athletics being more than happy to see their manager of the year place the finishing touches on a statue he’s already began to mold. Those finishing touches, have come in the form of nine additions thus far, most notably, LHP Hideki Okajima, LHP Andrew Werner, and recently SS Jed Lowrie.
The upcoming season looks extremely promising for the young franchise, though those in Oakland are cautiously walking into confidence. With a manager that’s proved prowess and a lineup looking increasingly lethal, the many prospects at Oakland look to further prove a point, this time without the element of surprise in the always strong AL West.