75-87, fourth AL West
Runs Scored: 14th
Runs Allowed: 18th
Reason for Excitement: As you've probably heard, Brett Anderson is ready to break out. He has good movement, good control, low walk rates, and a good minor league track record. Kurt Suzuki also appears to be one of the best catchers in baseball, finally putting it all together for a full season last year.
Andrew Bailey is also one of the most dominating closers in the league and might be the rest relief pitcher no one knows about. Then there's Ben Sheets.
Cause for Concern: Even though Los Angeles may have regressed, Texas and Seattle improved. While there are some good prospects in the rotation (Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill), they'll need to mature quickly. Then there's Ben Sheets.
Bold Prediction: Anderson and Cahill will combine for 30 wins.
Projected Finish: Fourth AL West
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jake Fox, and Coco Crisp were solid additions to an offense that was actually pretty successful last season. Oakland should once again be able to score runs, albeit not at will, and they'll be able to close out games with one of the best bullpens in baseball.
Their season hinges completely on their rotation's ability to consistently provide quality starts. If Anderson, Cahill, Gonzalez, Justin Duchscherer, Dallas Braden, Vin Mazzaro, et al. can live up to their potential, the Athletics could quietly creep up the standings out west.