After just watching our cross bay rivals sweep the A's, I started thinking to 2010 and some positives for our A's.
First, the A's have over 30 million coming off the books with the expiring contracts of Holliday (13M), Cabrera (4M), Duke (4M), Giambi, assuming his option does not get picked up (4M), Crosby (5M), Nomar (1M). Even with a few arbitration raises, the A's should shed 25M off the payroll.
The glaring holes for this team are at 3B (where we don't have a long term option), SS (need short term stopgap), maybe an Outfield spot (would love a True Centerfielder). Our bullpen is relatively set with any openings being filled in-house. We have great starting pitching depth and with a year under their belts, our starters should only get better (would love a veteran innings eater giving the young group guidance and giving the A's some flexbility).
If I were Billy Beane, I would make a strong push for Figgins for 3B. He's not a gold glover, but he plays an adequate 3B, is a true leadoff hitter with an OBP over .400, can steal bases and is a threat whenever he gets on. I would give him a 3 or 4-year deal since we don't have anyone in the minors that can handle 3B anyway. Next, I would sign M Tejada to a 2-yr deal. The guy can still hit and can serve many purposes for the A's. One, he is that right handed bat we would need if Holliday leaves.. He is an emotional leader.. Will bring fans to the park.. Will not cost too much.
With Figgins & Tejada, the team will look good but not great. I think the team will still need another BIG piece (possibly a centerfielder) to become a real contender. Who will be that big piece?
The A's should have MAJOR payroll flexibility this offseason and with the starting pitching in place, this team is a few solid moves away from contention. What do you think? What would you do?