On Friday night, the Oakland Athletics were eliminated from playoff contention, stretching their postseason drought to three seasons. The main difference between the A's and other teams is they seldom "rebuild" in the conventional sense. Usually, Oakland puts effort into being a mediocre squad by signing veterans and avoiding the kind of nihilistic approach employed by the Houston Astros or San Diego Padres. Their rosters aren't always great, and even average results are far from guaranteed -- to wit, they could lose 90-plus for a third year in a row -- but their process separates them from everyone else. If there's a takeaway from these A's, though, it's that they look like a standard rebuild job -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the A's have reason to enter 2018 with hope. Really. Most of the optimism is due to the A's lineup. Yes, they rank 10th in the American League in runs scored. Yey they hit the fourth-most home runs and have the fifth-best OPS. Given the A's had a number of underperforming veterans -- Rajai Davis, Trevor Plouffe, and Stephen Vogt -- it's fair to write better days lie ahead.