If saying the Oakland A's are close to contending is a hot take, then so be it.
The A's are close, real close.
Yes, they finished last in an AL West that was dominated by the Houston Astros. However, as Spring Training has progressed, the A's have flashed a nice collection of talented young players vying to make their mark at the major league level.
The A's enter 2018 hoping to make strides in an AL West division that, outside of the Astros, is a relatively weak division, at least on paper. They may not be a serious playoff contender at the moment, but they are a team with nothing to lose and a ton of talent ready to make a statement.