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2010 Oakland Athletics: Internal and FA Options

Obviously, this season is lost, and any trades made this year most likely will not directly benefit the 2010 team (unless, of course, Beane picks up Escobar from the Braves).  With that in mind, let's look to next year, which, hopefully, will be what this year was not: a true rebuilding year, with a slight dash of hope for contention.

First, it would be best to rehash what the 2010 team will consist of without any changes, and provide the best free agent options for our open positions:

 

 

Position

Player - 2010

Player-2009

Internal Improvement?

F.A. Option A

F.A. Option B

F.A. Option C

Cost (mm) for F.A.'s

Best F.A. Option

Best Overall Option


C


Kurt Suzuki


Kurt Suzuki

n/a

n/a

 n/a

 n/a

n/a

 

 

 1b

 Daric Barton

 Jason Giambi

 Slight

 Russell Branyan

 Troy Glaus

 Nick Johnson

A - $7

B - $5

C - $6

 Glaus

 Barton

 2b

 Mark Ellis

 Adam Kennedy/Mark Ellis

 Slight

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 

 

 SS

 ?

Orlando Cabrera

 n/a

Jack Wilson

Marco Scutaro

Adam Everett

A - $5

B - $6

C - $3.5

 Scutaro

 Scutaro

 3b

 ?

Jack Hannahan, et al

 n/a

Miguel Tejada

Chone Figgins

Adrian Beltre

A - $6

B - $9

C - $8

 Tejada

 Tejada

 RF

Travis Buck

 Jack Cust, et al

 Slight

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 

 

 CF

Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney

 Slight

Chone Figgins

Mike Cameron

 

A - $9

B - $8

 Cameron

 Sweeney

 LF

Aaron Cunningham

 Matt Holliday

 No

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 

 

 DH

 Jack Cust

 Jack Cust

 Slight

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 n/a

 

 

 I listed Scutaro and Tejada as the best overall free agent options.  Please let me know if you disagree or think other F.A. options should be added.  Here is the list of 2010 Free Agents provided by mlbtraderumors.com.

 

Regarding Scoot:  Oakland needs a shortstop for three years (Green, hopefully will be up thereafter), and we know Scutaro can perform in Oakland and should hold up as a useful player for the length of the cotract (3yrs, 15mm).

 

Tejada: This is fully dependent on how his glove will hold up at third, but I believe we could get Tejada on a two year deal, which would bridge the gap to Cardenas in 2011-2012.  Is 2 yrs., 12 million too low? Possibly; anything over that and it may be best to sign a AAAA retread.

Signing Scutaro and Tejada would also be beneficial vs. LH pitchers, as Tejada is above average versus lefties and Scutaro hits them significantly better than righties.  Finally, I think adding Scutaro and Tejada would add fire and an expectation to win for the team, something needed while grooming the team's talented youngsters.

The A's shouldn't be worried about pitching.  They have seven serviceable starters (BMAC, Gio, Eveland, and Gallagher) for a rebuilding year, and have more than enough combined major and minor league relieving talent.  We saw this year and last (with Springer and Embree) how signing older, "mentoring" relievers can turn out.  The A's have a very valuable, low-cost core of picthers, and shouldn't waste international and first-year draft signing money on this aspect of the team.

Finally, I think the team should consider a 4th outfielder/part-time DH who hits lefties extremely well.  In case you hadn't noticed, the team currently has a .619 OPS vs. lefties and Sweeney, Buck, and Cust all have poor splits vs. left-handers.  My number one choice for this role would be Gabe Kapler for around $2-3 millon, followed by Magglio Ordonez as a one-year reclamation project for around $3-4 million.  I prefer Kapler because he has done well in a platoon this year with Gross (1.000 OPS this year, .886 last three), while I think that Ordonez has much higher risk/reward potential, especially since he and Scutaro (both Venezuelans) may fuel each other(although Maggs, in a sign of things to come, sucked it up in the WBC,while Scoot smoked the ball, sss aside). 

As the A's will only have a salary of around $39 million next year (current salaries plus guesstimated $10 millon in arb. eligible raises/added minimum contracts), I think that they can comfortably add the $14-15 million it would take to re-acquire Scutaro and Tejada, and add Kapler/Ordonez.   That would put the overall 2010 payroll at $53-54 million, still $8 million below the 2009 figure of $62mm.  This extra amount could, and should, be used to: eat cash in trades this year, sign our draft picks next year, sign international players, and, possibly, allow us to pick someone up at the '10 trade deadline if the team surprises.

 

    

 

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