Cliff Floyd has been able to watch the game both on the field and as an analyst for MLB Network. A World Series champion himself in 1997, he went all-in on the A’s to win the whole thing in 2020.
“Before it all jumped off, [the A’s] were my team to beat,” Floyd said on the latest episode of Balk Talk. “The only thing that surprised me was they didn’t go deep in the postseason.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin told NBC Sports California heading into the season that he was more excited for the 2020 team than any other during his time in the organization. They were sitting pretty at every spot in spring training, from the starting rotation to the bats off the bench.
They were excited.
“This team, in my opinion, I had them going all the way, I did. I thought they had everything -- I didn’t say it was going to be easy against the [Los Aneles] Dodgers, but I said it was going to be one of those types of teams where you look at -- very streaky, they need to get hot at the right time. It didn’t happen,” Floyd added. “When you beat the [Chicago] White Sox, but White Sox beat themselves, I felt like the A’s were just in that position where the White Sox gave it to them.”
After a tough AL Wild Card Series with the White Sox, the Houston Astros eliminated the A's in four games in the AL Division Series.
Oakland won the AL West with a 36-24 record in the regular season, even after facing every hurdle you could imagine. That included losing Matt Chapman, their star third baseman and best defensive player, who underwent season-ending hip surgery.
“Sometimes you look at players and what guys you really can ill afford to lose and Matt Chapman was a huge loss for them,” Floyd added. “You can’t replace certain dudes.
“You might have a Mark Canha that can replace a couple cats in the outfield, or whatever the case may be because he should be playing every day. He just, you know, he couldn’t fit into what Bob Melvin had for him as far as just the everyday lineup type of thing, and I think he was just protecting him a little bit too because I think sometimes you could get overexposed."
Floyd believes Canha absolutely could play every day, but admitted it could have been a case of bringing him on slowly. Canha, like the rest of his teammates, rolled with the punches in 2020, playing anywhere he was asked and doing it well.
Losing Chapman definitely caused a noticeable hole -- not just in the A’s roster, but in the clubhouse where Chapman is a leader as well. With the coronavirus safety protocols in effect, Chapman wasn’t even able to be there physically to show support of his team after undergoing surgery.
All things considered, the A’s had a successful season. They advanced in the playoffs, which is something I’ve never actually written, and were on pace for a 162-game record almost identical to the previous two seasons (97-65). We don’t know if they would've matched it for sure, but they nonetheless did something special in 2020.
You can listen to the entire episode of Balk Talk here: