So … what went wrong for the A's in 2020?
The A’s were eliminated from the MLB playoffs … again. This time, they advanced out of the Wild Card round, but lost to the Houston Astros in the ALDS in four games.
For A’s analyst, and former World Series MVP pitcher Dave Stewart, some of this could have been avoided if Oakland had operated differently before the MLB trade deadline.
Oakland fared well acquiring infielder Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels and Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers, but what the team needed was top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.
“If their pitching would have come around, then the A’s would have been successful," Stewart said on the latest episode of Balk Talk. "Now what I can tell you, and I think you and I may have talked about this earlier on around the trade deadline time is, I felt the A’s should have gone out and gotten a guy that would have been at the front-end of their rotation."
“They needed an ace of the staff and they didn’t go out and do that,” Stewart said.
Minor made four starts and one relief appearance with the A's during the regular season, and posted a 5.48 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.
Chris Bassitt, who impressed Stewart this season, ended up being the A's No. 1 and most dependable starter, but they needed more.
“I lean toward even experience in the rotation -- they did have experience in the rotation, but they didn’t use him, and that was Mike Fiers,” Stewart said.
Fiers didn’t pitch during the AL Division Series, which would have created spicy headlines as he was the one to expose the Astros of their cheating ways during their 2017 World Series run, but that didn’t happen.
Whether it was the tie to his former team that left him off the mound during those outings, we don’t know.
But based on what happened in ALDS, the A's front office will take a different approach this offseason and at the 2020 trade deadline.
Listen to the entire episode of Balk Talk here: