Oakland Athletics: 2022 Season review

That’s another season in the books for the Oakland Athletics.

How to describe the A’s season? BFN editor Gavin has already described it as “dismal”, while another A’s fan privately said to me that this article would need to be a “post-mortem”.

Fair to say then that it wasn’t a classic – we had the worst record in the American League by five games. MLB-wide, only the Nationals had a worst record than the A’s too, again by five games. The thing that struck me most was how many errors the A’s committed this season as well – in previous seasons, it was a rare event that the A’s committed an on-field error. This season, however, errors by the A’s, and the frequency of them, felt calamitous at times. The penultimate game of the season against the Angels demonstrated this perfectly – top of the ninth, we’re up 1-0. All we had to do was protect the lead for one half-inning and we win without needing the bottom of the ninth, but then, as the clip shows, this happens…

In turn, this demonstrates a lot of what was wrong with the A’s this season – a lack of cohesion and a lack of experience meaning that we often failed to see games out when victory was in sight.

This translated to individual player performance as well. For example, after what was a fantastic breakout season for him last year, Tony Kemp mainly underwhelmed this season in my opinion despite some occasional flashes of brilliance. If nothing else, hopefully that will make him easier for the A’s to keep this off-season and then he gets back to making wonderful defensive plays and contributing well at-bat on a regular basis again. I’m sure other A’s fans would have other examples of players they felt underwhelmed this season too.

The issue of where the Athletics franchise will be playing once its lease of the RingCentral Coliseum expires at the end of the 2024 season stills hangs in the air too. All the required approvals have gone through thus far for the A’s to build a new ballpark at Howard Terminal a stone’s throw from Downtown Oakland, but a deal with Oakland city officials needs to be in place by the end of this year, the team and the City of Oakland are still not in agreement on the terms of that deal and team officials are apparently still holding meetings in Las Vegas about building a new ballpark there instead. I’m sure I’m not the only A’s fan that is starting to get very frustrated. I wrote about this issue back in March, and it is still rumbling on. We as a fanbase want the issue to be resolved so that the team can start to move forward either way. Personally, I want the Athletics to remain in Oakland, but the sad fact is that there seems to be a desire for the franchise to move to Vegas on the part of both the A’s front office given the continued meetings with casino magnates and city officials in Sin City and MLB given that Rob Manfred has supposedly already told Fisher and Kaval that he’ll waive the relocation fee.

It hasn’t all been bad though. The A’s were the first team to sweep the Houston Astros this season, and my start of season prediction that Seth Brown would be the A’s Player of the Season seems to have come true, as he led the team in both home runs and RBIs and was second only to Sean Murphy in walks.

We’ve seen some good new players emerge on the major league stage too – I thought Dermis Garcia looked particularly good for the A’s following the All-Star break and the performances of Shea Langeliers following his MVP performance at the All-Star Futures game and call-up from Triple-A were a delight to watch. As I said in my mid-season report article though, I hope Dave Kaval doesn’t use the emergence of Langeliers as an excuse to trade away Sean Murphy – Murphy led the team in batting average, on-base percentage, doubles and walks this season, and was second only to Seth Brown in home runs and RBIs. In what is a young and inexperienced team, he is a veteran and a leader who is still under contract to the A’s for three more seasons until the end of the 2025 season on a sub-£1m/year salary that is low even for the Oakland Athletics. In short, it would be spectacularly dumb to trade him away.

It’s been a mainly deflating year to be an A’s fan then. Given the emergence of new young talent, hope springs eternal though.

Finally, it is only right that I end this article with a few words about Stephen Vogt, who retired after Wednesday’s game following a ten-year career in the major leagues. I love Stephen Vogt – he wasn’t the most naturally-gifted baseball player, but he worked hard to get himself to the major leagues and then kept working hard to stay in the major leagues. Such was his work ethic, he was my favourite A’s player when I first started watching baseball until, in finest A’s tradition, he was waived midway through the 2017 season despite still being a valuable part of the team. I was delighted then when we re-signed him at the start of this season, and while he hasn’t played at an All-Star level this season, it was great to see him back in the kelly green again and I was as overjoyed as he was that he got a home run in his final-ever at-bat during Wednesday’s last game of the season. All the best to him as he now enters retirement.

Featured image – Thearon W. Henderson for Getty Images

Brett is the Team Contributor of the Oakland Athletics and can be found on Twitter @BrettWalkerPR.

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