Just for argument's sake, let's say that this list of free agents for the upcoming offseason is presented to you as a general manager of the Oakland Athletics. If you scan down the list, what looks appealing AND affordable? Remember, we're talking the A's here and I don't think this team is looking to necessarily break the bank...yet. If the A's are going to sign someone longer-term, it likely isn't going to be this upcoming offseason. Not unless the A's believe that their young pitchers like Cahill, Anderson, Simmons and Mazzaro are ready to contribute a LOT in 2009, which they very well could be. It's just not something to bank on yet.
This organization is looking like it's built for 2010 and beyond. And the good news is that once this team gets good, it's going to be in for a long period of being a great team, not just a good one. That being said, the A's front office has to realize that this team needs some offense. I mean, pretty much every pitcher in baseball knows that the A's offense is a cakewalk right now, including the A's own pitchers who seem to be suffering a bit from "If I let up one run, I'm screwed disease."
So with players like Carter and Cardenas a ways away, I think you're going to see the A's try and plug a couple of holes in the offense by opening up the wallet. Not enough to make anyone incredibly excited, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the A's sign a couple of players off the aforementioned list.
Names that would fit? Well, someone like Rafael Furcal would seem to be ideal. He's injured and he might come cheap because of that injury. Look at what the A's have done in signing free agents. It's buying folks who come in the bargain bin but have great upside potential. Sometimes it has worked well, as in Frank Thomas 2006, sometimes not so well as in Mike Piazza. Furcal might be willing to come to Oakland, prove his worth again and that he's fine after his surgery and then sign for a relatively large contract elsewhere.
A few others that have been mentioned ad nauseum on AN include Jason Giambi, Hank Blalock and the recently traded Adam Dunn. I might actually cheer for Jason Giambi if he was to return, time might have healed this wound surprisingly enough. I don't actually feel like throwing something at my TV when I see him. Maybe I'm just losing intensity in my older age. Speaking of older age, perhaps the A's would consider Bonds again this offseason. You have to think that guy can still hit despite everything. I'm not advocating for it, mind you, but the improvement in this dreadful lineup could be immense.
All of those options are left-handed and we know how Beane has craved a right-handed bat for a while now. There really isn't much out there in terms of a big right-handed bat that doesn't sound like Lanny Con-Beerez. And we just know that isn't happening. At the same time, Jay Payton and Milton Bradley are available. Oh wait. Seriously though, Pat Burrell is probably the only realistic option and while he would be appealing, I think he'll be looking for more than the A's will be willing to offer.
The only other two options I could see are also left-handed. Dallas McPherson has also been mentioned a bunch around these parts and he has mashed up on Triple-A pitching this year. And Billy Beane has always coveted Brian Giles. Beane does often finally get whatever he covets. So Giles wouldn't surprise me at all and Giles is a better player than people think, especially having played in Petco for too long.
I know it's early to start talking about our 09 shopping list, but we don't have much else going on these days other than the upcoming September call-ups and seeing how Gio Gonzalez is going to do his next time on the hill.
Is there anyone on that list you find appealing? Juan Rivera? Would you bring Frank Thomas back? Discuss.