The Oakland A’s season has not gone as expected, and yet we may see a few more surprises before all is said and done.

Just over one month into the season, the A’s are struggling.

Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir have been solid. After them, the starting pitching has been all over the place. The offense is inconsistent, and the bullpen is a problem. Injuries have decimated the roster as well. From leadoff hitter Coco Crisp to closer Sean Doolittle, key players have missed extended periods here and there.

Though there are four-and-a-half months left of baseball, many have given up on Oakland already.

But it’s a long season. We’ve seen division leaders with large leads collapse late; the A’s did that just last year. So really, anything can still happen.

Here are three bold predictions for the remainder of the 2015 season.


Barry Zito Pitches for the Green and Gold at Some Point

Not including Ike Davis, the A’s have used a total of 19 pitchers so far.

The rate at which Oakland has called up and sent down pitchers is staggering. If the trend continues, it’s only a matter of time before Barry Zito is called up.

I’m not saying he’ll blow the socks off the organization and flat-out earn it. I’m not saying he’ll be the A’s savior.

But beyond Pat Venditte, the team is running out of relievers to try.

As for starters, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are delayed in returning from Tommy John surgery. So if a Drew Pomeranz or Jesse Hahn struggle, a move will need to be made if the A’s hope to avoid digging an even deeper hole. Or, because the bullpen has been so bad, the A’s could push Drew Pomeranz or Jesse Chavez back into the pen and try Zito in the rotation.

Zito could be called up simply out of short-term necessity. 

As of now, the organization needs to try anything it can just to stay afloat.


If Sellers, the A’s Trade No One or Just One Player

On the optimistic side, the A’s will get healthy, put things together consistently, find their midseason form and turn things around to make a serious run.

That would make them buyers at the deadline, or else they’d stand pat.

It’s not unrealistic to foresee that happening. Currently, the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels have produced similar results. As expected, the standings are close, for now.

If worse comes to worst, Oakland will drop out of the race. Would they become sellers?

Their most valuable asset is Sonny Gray. They’d be foolish to trade him now. Next year, maybe. Next year, probably. But I just don’t see that happening in 2015.

Guys like Josh Reddick, Stephen Vogt and Jesse Chavez may provide some value, but I also don’t believe other teams would bank on one of those three being the piece that pushes them over all other contenders. Likewise, I don’t see the A’s getting too much value for any of them, at least not this season (put together one more consistently solid season, and we’ll talk.)

With Coco Crisp’s age and injury history, he’s not a likely candidate to trade either. Sean Doolittle is coming off a significant injury, so he’d be a risk for teams as well. Nearly every other player is either young enough that the A’s would benefit by holding on to him, or not valuable enough.

One popular trade candidate is Scott Kazmir. But as this Twitter conversation points out, a few A’s fans believe holding on to Kazmir is the smarter play:

There’s also Ben Zobrist. He’s a proven, consistent, versatile veteran who could certainly help a ball club. And like Kazmir, he’s gone after this year.

Oakland could conceivably offer Zobrist a qualifying offer as well, so the A’s could end up trading no one, even if they do not contend. A non-move would be a bold strategy, especially considering the A’s penchant for trades.

The A’s will hold on to both men for the potential picks or trade just one at the deadline.


The A’s Will Have 4 All-Stars

Idiotic prediction, you say?

Sonny Gray could make the All-Star team. Scott Kazmir could, too. At his current pace, Stephen Vogt is playing like an All-Star. Josh Reddick is up there, for now.

How about a sneaky fifth option?

What if Evan Scribner joined the squad? As of this writing (pre-May 11, he’s eighth in innings pitched as a reliever and holds a 2.00 ERA. He also has 20 strikeouts and just two walks.

If you’re not sold on Scribner, Ike Davis could easily build his stats by the All-Star break as well. The point is, though the record doesn’t reflect it, the A’s have numerous All-Star candidates.


Fan Predictions

I wanted to know what A’s fans thought, so I put it out on Twitter. Here’s what I got.

Oakland’s bullpen currently holds the third-worst ERA in all of baseball, but one fan thought the A’s could turn things around and finish with the best in the league:

Now that’s bold.

Others agreed that the A’s would turn things around in the end and finish strong but were split on whether the end result would be a playoff spot or not:

Finally, another mostly agreed that the A’s will move at least one player but that several others have a shot at taking home an honor by season’s end.

Outside of an utter tank job in which the A’s lose 100 games and multiple guys are traded before August 1, there’s plenty of potential for surprises in the next few months.

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