The missus and I are out the door to use my credit card, but since Friday's my front page day, I thought I'd quickly post my A's wish list, in order of priority, in the spirit of the biggest shopping day of the year:
1. Rafael Furcal - "The Torpedo" lunched with Beane and checked out Bay Area real estate while in town Tuesday. (I'm guessing that the "businessmen" outside of the Burger King on Hegenberger weren't part of the tour). I wish that Furcal could have been persuaded before he left town for the Dominican Republic; the skeptic in me is afraid that Torpedo is waiting to see if a preferred team will bowl him over with an offer. I'm still optimistic.
2. Nick Johnson - I'd be thrilled with a trade of Javier Herrera and/or Richie Robnett for him, but I hope he wouldn't require any of our top eight arms on the farm. Potential .400 OBP guy with 20 homers, along with projected league-average-or-slightly-better defense. With only one year and $5.5M remaining on his contract, he figures to be cheaper than Giambi, and is obviously a better defender.
3. Randy Johnson - Johnson is likely to require only a one-year commitment, and he has an excellent k-to-walk ratio. He's also a Walnut Creek native and only five wins away from 300, so perhaps there's some sentimental value to bringing him in as well. His biggest problem is allowing home runs, and the Coliseum would help suppress that. Johnson also wouldn't require the A's to yield a draft pick. I think that a few of the A's young pitchers could benefit from watching Johnson's preparation for each start and intensity. I like him much more than Brad Penny, who has a high walk rate and literally quit on the Dodgers during the last two weeks of the season, packing up and going home early.
4. Eduardo Morlan - This year's Rule 5 draft-eligible crop is thinner than it's been in year's past. There's probably a few good reasons for that - in the post-PED era, rosters are going to be slightly younger, and the high cost of free agents makes it more essential than ever to protect young talent. With apologies to PT's yen for James Skelton (Tigers catcher), I think that Eduardo Morlan of the Rays organization is the best player available in a very thin Rule 5 crop. A nice combination of good stats and upside, if his fastball returns to the mid-90s after slipping a few ticks this year. Morlan will likely be picked before the A's turn to draft, but the team could always trade up, a la Ryan Goleski (with much better results, hopefully).
(I don't actually think the A's will take a Rule 5 pick; if they really wanted an extra reliever, they could've simply protected Brad Kilby).
Assuming that Crosby gets traded for a low-level non-roster player, and that Herrera/Robnett are traded for Johnson, these moves would put the A's roster at 40 entering Spring Training. I'm also assuming that Embree gets offered arbitration, declines, and eventually signs with another team, yielding the A's another draft pick.