While it is difficult to classify some of the moves that the Oakland Athletics have made here in the past week as "stunning", as some have done over the course of the past several days, there's no doubt that they've made some serious noise here in the young offseason.
Typically a team that builds from within, the A's have made it clear that they're a team going for it in 2014. They haven't made payroll-shattering moves, but they have been significant nonetheless. The additions they've made to this point should compliment their young team well, primarily in regard to their pitching staff. We still don't expect the A's to be done even at this point, but let's take a look at some of the new arms they've added thus far.
Perhaps the most intriguing of their recent additions, the 2013 season saw Kazmir revive his career with the Cleveland Indians. After a string of seasons plagued by underperformance and injuries, Kazmir made just one start in 2011 before falling almost completely out of baseball in 2012. He rebounded to the tune of a 4.04 ERA and a 3.36 xFIP. More encouraging, his strikeout numbers were up, as he punched out just over nine hitters per nine, and his walk numbers were as low as they've been at any point in his career, at just 2.68 BB/9.
His ground ball rate was also the highest of his career, at a touch over 40 percent. That should play well for the A's, given that his presence means the end of groundball pitcher Bartolo Colon. He should serve as a nice replacement on his two-year, $22 million deal.
Somehow, Billy Beane managed to pull off grabbing one of the game's top relievers in Luke Gregerson for only Seth Smith. Gregerson has been a figure of consistency out of the bullpen for the San Diego Padres, with a career ERA of 2.88 and stranding 74 percent of runners. He should prove as a nice addition for the late innings, where he's averaged 26 holds.
In a move that was a pure salary dump for the Baltimore Orioles, the A's were more than happy to oblige in sending Jemile weeks to the O's in exchange for Jim Johnson. His peripherals in 2012 indicated that a regression was on the horizon, and that ended up coming true in 2013. While his numbers weren't bad, his ERA did jump up to 2.94 and he blew nine saves, compared to just three the previous season.
His xFIP did actually drop though, down to 3.38 and opposing hitters went for a .327 BABIP, compared to just .251 the previous season. That indicates that he should see something of a rebound, and should prove valuable in the ninth in replacing Grant Balfour.
Not exactly the most significant part of the Athletics' deal with the Texas Rangers, Josh Lindblom is a young arm capable of coming out of the 'pen or coming out as a starter. The expectation is that the A's will keep him in the rotation, where he struggled a bit in 2013, allowing 19 earned runs in 27 innings across five starts.
More of a flyer pickup, the A's threw a minor leaguer to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Fernando Abad. He's had an up and down Major League career, but has the chops to be a nice bullpen piece. He sports a low-90s fastball with a solid mix of breaking stuff.
The starting staff is still up for some debate, but one would imagine that it'll include the names Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and apparently Josh Lindblom, while Jim Johnson is locked in to the ninth inning role for the time being. All things considered, the Athletics are certainly boasting one of the top groups on the planet, and it could make the difference for them as they make a real World Series run in 2014.
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.