|2012 Oakland Athletics|
|American League West champions|
|Major League affiliations|
|Owner(s)||Lewis Wolff, John Fisher|
|General manager(s)||Billy Beane|
|Local television||Comcast SportsNet California|
(Glen Kuiper, Ray Fosse, Scott Hatteberg)
(Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo, Ray Fosse)
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The Oakland Athletics' 2012 season was the organization's 45th in Oakland, California and the 112th in club history. The team finished with a final record of 94-68, claiming first place in the American League West and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2006. After winning their last game of the season, they took sole possession of the West for the first time all year, overtaking the Texas Rangers. The A's had trailed Texas by 13 games on June 30, and had a five-game deficit with nine days left in the season. The 2012 team, which led the league with 15 walk-off wins, managed this with the second-lowest payroll in baseball, at $59.5 million. They lost in five games to the Detroit Tigers in the Divisional Series.
Following a 74-88 finish in 2011, general manager Billy Beane largely dismantled the team's starting rotation. All-Star starters Trevor Cahill and Gio González were traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals, respectively. The trades yielded a number of highly touted prospects; among these were catcher Derek Norris, starting pitchers Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker, and reliever Ryan Cook. An additional trade sent All-Star closer Andrew Bailey (along with Ryan Sweeney) to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Josh Reddick and a pair of prospects. With power-hitting outfielder Josh Willingham becoming a free agent, Beane's next move was to sign highly regarded Cuban outfielder Yoenis Céspedes on February 13, 2012. The 4-year, $36 million deal seemed out of character, especially given the Athletics' low payroll and generally frugal nature. The move followed a number of earlier (and lower-cost) free-agent signings, including the additions of veterans Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith, and Bartolo Colón.
Despite these additions, expectations were still not high for the Athletics in 2012, as a number of experts picked the Athletics to lose as many as 100 games in the highly competitive AL West. The A's managed to play winning baseball through mid-May and held a 22-21 record on May 21, before a nine-game losing streak brought them down to a season-low eight games under the .500 mark. In Bob Melvin's first full season as manager, the team began to gel in the month of June. Between June 2 (the day the nine-game losing streak ended) and June 30, the A's posted a 15-12 record; then erased their deficit with a 19-5 surge in July, highlighted by the first-ever four-game sweep of the New York Yankees in Oakland. This stellar play put the once-dead Athletics into the heat of the AL West race: while they had trailed the division-leading Rangers by 13 games on June 30, they were only 3.5 back on July 28. A 5-8 start to August, however, widened the Rangers' lead to six games. Additionally, veteran pitcher Bartolo Colón was suspended after testing positive for synthetic testosterone on August 22. Facing these problems, the A's won 13 of their final 15 August games, due in part to the season debut of injured ace Brett Anderson and capped off with a 20-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on August 31.
The A's continued to play well through the first days of September, though they began to decline as the month progressed. On September 5, Opening Day starter Brandon McCarthy was seriously injured when a line drive impacted his head. The injury, which resulted in an epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion, and a skull fracture, was considered life-threatening for a number of days. Although McCarthy made a recovery over the following two months, the injury ended his season. An additional injury to Brett Anderson further impacted the A's starting rotation. From September 13 to 24 the A's would lose six out of eight games, with the final loss being a 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Rangers that put the A's five games behind the division leaders (with only nine left to play), though the A's were not mathematically eliminated. After winning two of their next three games against the Rangers, they then swept the Seattle Mariners (highlighted by their last regular-season walk-off), while the Rangers lost two games out of three to the division-rival Los Angeles Angels. With the Rangers leading the A's by only two games, the teams faced off in Oakland for the final three games of the season. The A's took the first two games by scores of 4-3 and 3-1, respectively; the first win clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics, while the second momentarily tied the A's with the Rangers for first place and set up a winner-take-all game for the division crown. In the final game, a 5-1 Rangers lead after the 2nd inning was not enough as the Athletics scored six runs in the 4th (including two off a fly ball that was misplayed by Josh Hamilton) and scored five more runs in the eventual 12-5 victory.
Having secured the division championship, the Athletics faced the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 American League Division Series. The A's were shut down by Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 1, and followed that loss with a 5-4 defeat in Game 2. The Athletics, now down 2-0 in a best-of-five series, returned to Oakland for Game 3. Brett Anderson saved the Athletics' season by shutting out the Tigers in a 2-0 Athletics victory. Then, trailing 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning, Oakland scored three runs (the final on a Coco Crisp walk-off single) to capture a come-from-behind 4-3 victory in Game 4. The A's comeback was not to be, however, as a dominant outing by Verlander ended the A's season in Game 5.
The Athletics' 94-68 record in 2012 was their best in nearly a decade. Manager Bob Melvin and General Manager Billy Beane were honored with the Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award as the Manager of the Year and Executive of the Year, respectively.
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||89||73||0.549||5||46-35||43-38|
|New York Yankees||95||67||0.586|
Wild Card teams|
(Top two qualify for postseason)
|Tampa Bay Rays||90||72||0.556||3|
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||89||73||0.549||4|
|Chicago White Sox||85||77||0.525||8|
|Toronto Blue Jays||73||89||0.451||20|
|Kansas City Royals||72||90||0.444||21|
|Boston Red Sox||69||93||0.426||24|
|Player||Position||OAK Tenure||New Team||Stats|
Stats as of Aug 25
|Bold||Athletics team member|
The Athletics played the Detroit Tigers in the Division Series.
|WP: Justin Verlander (1-0) LP: Jarrod Parker (0-1) Sv: José Valverde (1)|
OAK: Coco Crisp (1)
DET: Alex Avila (1)
|WP: Al Alburquerque (1-0) LP: Grant Balfour (0-1)|
OAK: Josh Reddick (1)
|WP: Brett Anderson (1-0) LP: Aníbal Sánchez (0-1) Sv: Grant Balfour (1)|
OAK: Seth Smith (1)
|WP: Ryan Cook (1-0) LP: José Valverde (0-1)|
DET: Prince Fielder (1)
|WP: Justin Verlander (2-0) LP: Jarrod Parker (0-2)|
|AAA||Sacramento River Cats||Pacific Coast League||Darren Bush|
|AA||Midland RockHounds||Texas League||Steve Scarsone|
|A||Stockton Ports||California League||Webster Garrison|
|A||Burlington Bees||Midwest League||Aaron Nieckula|
|A-Short Season||Vermont Lake Monsters||New York-Penn League||Rick Magnante|
|Rookie||AZL Athletics||Arizona League||Marcus Jensen|
In September, the organization announced a two-year player development contract with the Class A Beloit Snappers, replacing Burlington after two seasons.
Gary Daley, Grant Green, Shawn Haviland, Miles Head, Brett Hunter, Max Stassi, James Simmons will represent the organization on the Phoenix Desert Dogs
as of 8/26/12
Baseball America named Céspedes (14), Parker (26), Peacock (36), Cole (57), Gray (65), and Choice (80) to their Top 100 Prospects list. Baseball Prospectus named Choice (39), Parker (50), Cole (60), Peacock (64), Gray (72), Norris (96), and Green (100) to their Top 101 Prospects list.