With the constitution of our starting pitching staff led by Braden, Cahill, Gio, and the imminent return of Anderson, I really think we are 1 or 2 power bats away from contending for next year and beyond. With Chris Carter turing into Jack Cust II and Michael Taylor striking out by the dozens, there isn't much offensive help arriving anytime soon. The team should have some cash to go after a quality offensive star after the season, with the expiration of Sheets', Ellis', Chavez's, contracts -- that's almost 30M off the books.
Another option that I think Beane should consider is trading Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow. These 2 players have the highest value right now and they are cheap. Contending teams like the Yankees, Phillies, Reds, etc are having iffy BPs. Bailey could serve as some team's closer for the next 10 years, if Beane markets him right. I'm not saying we can get a 30 HR guy from trading Bailey but definitely some better minor league prospects than Carter or Taylor.
Trading Bailey and Breslow will weaken out pen significantly. But let's face it, we are a .500 ball club at best. Bailey and Breslow are basically saving games that mean nothing in the long run. We do have Henry Rodriguez in the minors and Joey Devine is set to return. We also have an amzing coaching staff that can turn castoffs into all star relievers; witness Ziggy, Bailey, and Devine before he got hurt. It wouldn't seem too difficult to develop a pitcher to get 3 outs per game, at least not as difficult than develop a player into hitting 30 HRs.