- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
No one ever plans on how they bow out of the playoffs, but the way it happened certainly wasn’t expected from the Cincinnati Reds, with their powerful lineup and dominating pitching staff. On the other hand, the Oakland Athletics ridiculously exceeded expectations this year, and while reaching Game 5 of the ALDS must be seen as a win for them, they can expect more of this success next year.
Indeed, the common denominator is the fact both are set up well to continue their success in 2013. Neither team looks as if it needs any major overhaul or personnel changes. So what’s next for the Reds and A’s?
Athletics general manager Billy Beane has to be executive of the year for how he rebuilt the A’s -- not just in the offseason but during the season, too. It was an amazing 10-month makeover in which the A's were transformed into the American League West champs with one of the lowest payrolls in sports.