The A's won 97 games each of the last two seasons, which was good enough for second place in the AL West both years. But in both cases, it wasn't good enough and they fell in the wild-card game.
But that was then, and the team looks forward to the future. This means we get to look at "what could be."
According to Caesars Entertainment, the A's are projected to have 89 1/2 wins next season.
Luzardo and Puk were the team's No. 1 and No. 2 overall prospects in 2019, so they lack MLB time, but the small sample size we have from them looks promising.
The competition at second base appears to be a little more promising after trading for versatile veteran Tony Kemp. The A's have been on the hunt for a left-handed bat to roam the infield, and that's exactly what Kemp brings to the table.
He's out of minor-league options, so he'll need to break camp in the spring if there's a chance of him making an actual impact on the big-league club. Kemp's numbers were strong in Triple-A and he spent time with the Astros so his familiarity with the division helps.
From a makeup perspective, the guy couldn't be more perfect for the fun A's team.
With second base being take care of for the most part, the team could be seeking more reliever arms.
Lefty Jake Diekman re-signed with the A's on a two-year contract earlier in December to add help to the bullpen. He boasted a 4.43 ERA with 21 strikeouts over 20 1/3 innings pitched for Oakland last season.
And Liam Hendriks looks to repeat a sensational campaign where he had a 1.80 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 124 strikeouts in 85 innings. He earned a well-deserved All-Star selection in 2019 and will be one of the players to watch in MLB heading into the upcoming season.
The one part of the A's that appears to not lack confidence is their offensive game.
Matt Olson and Matt Chapman each hit 36 home runs last season and both earned consecutive Gold Glove awards since the 2018 season -- Chappy snagged his second Platinum Glove as well.
Designated hitter Khris Davis looks to redeem himself after a season that didn't mirror the type of hitter he truly is.
The A's are going to need more than 89-plus wins if they want to take the division. Oakland has struggled in the one-and-done wild-card game in the past.
The gray cloud that hangs over the Houston Astros (projected to win 97 games next season) amidst their sign-stealing scandal shouldn't change the fact that the team still is good. The A's need to take advantage of the fact that they no longer have to face Gerrit Cole as often as they used to, but the Astros will remain one of the best teams in baseball.
The Yankees are projected to win 101 games next season, with that Cole boost, and are the only team on the board to be projected over 100 wins.
These win totals are current as of early Tuesday morning prior to Josh Donaldson's four-year contract agreement with the Minnesota Twins, who are projected to win 90 1/2 games.
They were also determined following the Astros' dismissal of general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, but prior to the firing of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
MLB win totals: A's projected to win 89.5 games in 2020 by sports book originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area