2022 Oakland Athletics
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2022 Oakland Athletics / Franchise: Oakland Athletics / BR Team Page
Managed by Mark Kotsay
History, Comments, Contributions
Awards and Honors
The 2022 Oakland Athletics made some radical decisions before the season started. After just missing the postseason in 2021 and three straight appearances before that even if they never progressed very far, they decided to clean house immediately after the 2021-2022 lockout was resolved. Actually, there was an earlier sign when long-time manager Bob Melvin left the team to join the San Diego Padres in November; he was replaced by first-time manager Mark Kotsay. After the lockout ended, they traded four front-line players in return for prospects: 1B Matt Olson went to the Atlanta Braves; P Chris Bassitt went to the New York Mets; 3B Matt Chapman was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays; and P Sean Manaea was sent to the San Diego Padres. This made it clear that the A's were looking towards the longer term.
Another result of the lockout was the A's had to start their season on the road, more precisely with three straight road series totalling ten games. They opened at Citizens Bank Park with an interlegue series with the Philadelphia Phillies starting on April 8th, and then traveled to the homes of two AL East powers, the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, before finally heading home. Worse, before crossing the border into Canada, they had to place OF Stephen Piscotty on the COVID list, and to place three players - C Austin Allen and Ps Kirby Snead and A.J. Puk on the restricted list because they were unvaccinated and could not legally cross the border. This schedule was brutal, and the team could have easily have folded and fallen out of contention then and there, but they actually played quite well, going 5-5, including taking three of four games from the Rays. But it seemed that the hometown fans were not fooled by these results: the crowd at their home opener, on April 18th against the Baltimore Orioles was just 17,503 - the lowest for a home opener at the Oakland Coliseum except for the two seasons when crowds were restricted by the Coronavirus pandemic - and the next day, just 3,748 fans turned up, their lowest crowd since 1980. Clearly, the moves in spring training had not been popular with the fan base!
The line-up on opening day included two young players acquired in the pre-season trades: CF Cristian Pache and 3B Kevin Smith, and another one picked up off the scrap heap in DH Billy McKinney (he was playing for his sixth team since 2018), but otherwise it was not a radical line-up, as it still included a number of well-estabished major leaguers such as 2B Tony Kemp, SS Elvis Andrus, C Sean Murphy, LF Chad Pinder, 1B Seth Brown and the aformentioned Piscotty in RF. SP Frankie Montas was another solid veteran, but one whose name had circulated in trade rumors ever since the first trade had been made. The rest of the starting rotation had a patched-together feel, including Cole Irvin, better known for leading the American League in losses the year before, and youngsters Paul Blackburn, Daulton Jefferies and Adam Oller. Oller was one of seven players to make their major league debut for the Athletics during the first 13 games of the season, most in the majors. Still, the unheralded starting pitchers did well during their first two turns, keeping the A's in almost all the games they played, and the bullpen was airtight. With back-to-back wins against the Orioles in spite of the sparse crowds watching them, they stood at 7-5 after 12 games. Three more players had hit the COVID list before the second game, with Jed Lowrie, Pinder and Lou Trivino joining the growing list of unavailable players.
After a creditable start to their season, the Athletics had one of the worst homestands in their history from April 29-May 4 as they lost all six games against the Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays; they hadn't done that since 1956, when they were still the Kansas City Athletics.
- Gabe Lacques: "The Oakland A's (and MLB) discouraged fans from coming to the Coliseum. The fans were listening.", USA Today, April 20, 2022. 
- Janie McCauley (Associated Press): "A's trade 3 more stars, rebuild again going into 2022", Yahoo! News, March 29, 2022.