BetDSI Sportsbook has their Major League Baseball Regular Season Wins up for wagering and I will be making a bet on the Oakland Athletics Under 71.5 wins for the 2012 season.
The Oakland Athletics managed 74 wins in the 2011 season with a rotation that included Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, but with Cahill in Arizona and Gonzalez gone to Washington the staff “ace” defaults to Brandon McCarthy. The rotation projects to come together with Dallas Braden, Bartolo Colon and Tommy Milone behind McCarthy – not exactly one that strikes fear into opponents. Even the closer’s job has been mostly up in the air with neither Grant Balfour nor Brian Fuentes really taking the bull by the horns. Looking at the pitching staff that loses a guy who won 15 and 16 games the past two seasons in Gonzalez, and Cahill, winner of 18 and 12 over that same span, one has to wonder how that void can be filled. That is roughly 30 wins for a team that only managed 74.
Through the line-up the A’s still seem to lack a big bat, as they have for some time and seemingly will be looking to manufacture runs with singles and smart base running. The wild card is the surprise signing of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes who may help in the offense some, but it is a team that needs a lot of help. Also, asking a first year player to carry the load can be a heavy burden. Veteran Coco Crisp didn’t find what he was looking for in the open market and comes back to Oakland as an undervalued commodity – Crisp simply hits for a solid average and is a fine base stealer who has been successful in 81 of 93 attempts since coming to the A’s in 2010.
Seth Smith fills in the outfield after Cespedes and Crisp but as a guy who couldn’t really make it as a hitter in Colorado I have serious doubts as to his impact in the spacious Coliseum. The A’s lack a big bat at first where Daric Barton lacks power and Brandon Allen has never been able to hit for average. DH likely falls to Kila Ka’aihue who was unable to crack the Kansas City Royals line-up with any consistency for the past few years. Jemile Weeks was exiting as a rookie second baseman last year but whether he can hit .300 again remains to be seen and, despite stealing 22 bases in 97 games, he was caught 11 times.
The possibility that Crisp, really the only player other teams might consider worth trading for with Cespedes staying put, gets moved later in the season is a real possibility as well.
Simply put the A’s lost two very solid starters and haven’t replaced them and will struggle mightily this season. Off a 74-win campaign in 2011 I will gladly go Under the 71.5 -105 Regular Season Wins at BetDSI Sportsbook.