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A's have 2 clear needs ahead of 2019 season

MLB.com @JaneMLB

The year 2018 proved extremely kind to the A's, who enjoyed a surprising playoff appearance and a slew of ensuing accolades following a string of frustrating seasons. Now, they seek to maintain this success with some of the game's top talent -- hello, Khris Davis and Blake Treinen -- and a core of young studs, including Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.

A's 2019 schedule

The year 2018 proved extremely kind to the A's, who enjoyed a surprising playoff appearance and a slew of ensuing accolades following a string of frustrating seasons. Now, they seek to maintain this success with some of the game's top talent -- hello, Khris Davis and Blake Treinen -- and a core of young studs, including Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.

A's 2019 schedule

But supplementary pieces remain missing. The A's were rather quiet this offseason before crowding the transaction wire just ahead of Christmas, trading for second baseman Jurickson Profar and inking starter Mike Fiers and reliever Joakim Soria to deals. Their remaining needs are clear, outlined here: 

1. Continue to build a rotation: The A's are equipped with only so many starters. Fiers, Daniel Mengden, Chris Bassitt, Paul Blackburn, Frankie Montas and Aaron Brooks represent in-house options, collectively showcasing mild to moderate big league success. Then there are prospects Jesus Luzardo and Grant Holmes, who add intrigue to the mix. But the A's yearn for, and need, more. 

Video: OAK@BAL: Mengden hurls 5 hitless in relief effort

It remains to be seen just how the A's intend to build a rotation that can help maintain the competitive nature of a club that counted off 97 wins in 2018. At this point it appears the A's will wait out the market and pinpoint under-the-radar targets who could bring great value. Translation: Don't expect them to make a splash here.

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2. Find catching: The A's have said they'd be comfortable beginning the season with a platoon of Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann, but the position screams for an upgrade, and they seem very much inclined to get one while they wait out catching prospect Sean Murphy, who will continue his development at Triple-A in 2019.

One name off the board: Jonathan Lucroy, who was a valuable piece to the 2018 A's squad. The veteran backstop signed a one-year, $3.35 million contract with the Angels that can net him as much as $4.525 million.

A's 2019 tickets

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics