Photo Courtesy of CSUEB
The 2017 baseball season starts this weekend and both the Giants and the A’s made roster moves to improve on last season’s results.
San Francisco Giants
This season, Giants fans will notice some star players absent from the roster. Relief pitcher Santiago Casilla signed with the Oakland Athletics for a two-year contract and pitcher Sergio Romo signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a one-year contract. However, the Giants signed powerhouse veteran pitcher Mark Melancon to a four-year contract. Melancon is one of the best relievers in the game and had 65 strikeouts in 71.3 innings pitched with 47 saves last season.
In last season’s National League Divisional Series playoff game four, the Giants faced the eventual World Series Champions, Chicago Cubs, with a chance to advance to another World Series. The Giants had a 5-2 lead over the Cubs throughout the game until the ninth inning. The Cubs advanced as the Giants bullpen collapsed and gave up 4 runs. A two-run single by catcher Willson Contreras had tied the game and infielder Javier Baez delivered a single which would end up being the go-ahead and winning run.
Cubs pitcher and high powered arm Aroldis Chapman finished the game by striking out Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. The Cubs won 6-5 and eliminated the Giants. It was the first time in six years that the Giants did not advance to the World Series in an even year as they had done in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The Giants ended the season in second place in the NL West with a record of of 87-75.
The Oakland Athletics ended their 2016 season 69-93, which placed them last in the American League West. Unlike the Giants, the A’s haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2014 season when they had a record of 88-74 before they lost to the Kansas City Royals in a wild card game.
During the offseason, significant changes were made to the A’s roster. Pitcher Dillon Overton was traded to the Seattle Mariners in return for minor league catcher Jason Goldstein and centerfielder Brett Eibner was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league third baseman Jordan Tarsovich.
The team signed several free agents including third baseman Trevor Plouffe, outfielder Alejandro De Aza, infielder Adam Rosales, infielder Josh Rodriguez, catcher Matt McBride, pitcher Tyler Sturdevant, pitcher Cesar Valdez, right fielder and first baseman Chris Parmelee, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, outfielder Jaff Decker, outfielder Matt Joyce, pitcher Simon Castro and left fielder Jermaine Curtis.
There has also been discussion about changes to the Athletics ballpark. The Golden State Warriors are moving to San Francisco and with the Oakland Raiders’ impending move to Las Vegas, A’s President Dave Kaval stated to fans at the team’s annual ‘Fanfest’ event there are four locations being considered for a new stadium, including their current home, O. co Coliseum.
While the Giants are looking to make another run at a championship if their key players play at a high level. There are many question marks such as outfield play, the number five starting pitching position in the rotation and a potential weak bench. As for the A’s, they’re looking to the future to see if they can get back to being a respected team in the league.