Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland A’s – 3 Things to Watch

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Apr 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt (21) celebrates with third baseman Brett Lawrie (15) and designated hitter Billy Butler (16) behind Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos (61) after batting them in on a three run hime run during the seventh inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Beane was a Busy Man this Winter

The Oakland A’s are a completely different team this season. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical way; the A’s are physically a different team with new names and faces all over the roster. General Manager Billy Beane is always willing to make big changes in hopes of winning the World Series, and this winter he overhauled the roster.

The A’s had 6 players named to All Star team in 2014, but only 2 of those players entered the 2015 season wearing the green and gold. Beane jettisoned Yoenis Cespedes, Derek Norris, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss. They also said good-bye to front line starters Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija.

Apr 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler (16) on second base after an RBI double against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Beane filled the vacancies with third baseman Brett Lawrie, utility man Ben Zobrist, designated hitter Billy Butler, first baseman Ike Davis, shortstop Marcus Semien, and pitchers Kendal Graveman and Jesse Hahn. Closing pitcher Sean Doolittle suffered a shoulder injury this offseason, and the A’s acquired veteran reliever Tyler Clippard from the Washington Nationals to handle 9th inning duties until Doolittle is healthy.

It is incredibly hard to predict how the Athletics will do in 2015. They could easily be division title contenders, but it is just as likely they will be down with the Texas Rangers at the bottom of the AL West. However, I have total faith in Billy Beane’s ability to paste together a competitive ball club out of castoffs, and I expect this incarnation of the Athletics to be pretty successful this season. I still think the Mariners are the far superior team, but don’t be surprised if the A’s are fighting for a wildcard spot come September.

Next: Final Notes