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A's Offseason Outlook

Free Agents:

The A's and Jonny Gomes already have mutual interest in getting a deal done. Gomes was a clubhouse leader and is from Petaluma, so I think a one or two year deal between 1-2 million annually is likely. Grant Balfour's 4.5 million option is a bargain these days for closers and might be the biggest no brainer here. Speaking of options though, the A's will have a tough decision when it comes to Stephen Drew. Drew has a 10 million dollar mutual option for 2013. If the A's don't pick up the option, they will be on the hook for 1.35 million as part of a buyout. Considering the 10 million is only for one year, it is pretty low risk. If I were the A's, I would pick up the option or try to offer Drew a deal this offseason that negates it. A 4 year, 31-32 million dollar deal seems like solid market value and makes sense.

When it comes to Brandon McCarthy, I would like the A's to keep him, but the market will determine that. McCarthy's injury history (not counting his freak accident at the end of the year) will lower his value a bit, but considering he's been one of the A's best pitchers, you can expect him to get at minimum of 5-6 million a year on a one or two year deal.

As for Brandon Inge, while he is a great clubhouse guy, the only way he would be back is if management decided to makeJosh Donaldson a catcher again. Considering how well Donaldson played at the end of the year at the hot corner, that seems unlikely to happen. Bartolo Colon will not be returning after his suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Not only is his performance an unknown, but he also must miss the first 5 games of the season next year to complete the suspension.

Non Tender Candidates:

Among the non-tender candidates for the Athletics, the A's will have a decision to make when it comes to Daric Barton. Barton made 1.1 million last season and surely isn't worth that much heading in to the 2013 season. The A's could always try to negotiate a smaller number with Barton and send him to Sacramento, but Barton may not want to remain in the minors. Looking at the other candidates, Dallas Braden is a no-brainer. Braden made over 3 million last season and didn't play a single game. His value is at an all-time low. The A's could non-tender Braden and bring him back on a minor league deal until he proves he is ready to play. Devine has worked out deals with the A's over the past two seasons and I imagine he will here. Accardo and Chavez can be released to create roster space as neither are worthy of a 40-man roster spot in my opinion.

Below are the players who are also arbitration eligible, but are likely to be tendered a contract:

OF Seth Smith (2nd), RP Pat Neshek (3rd), C George Kottaras (2nd), 2B Adam Rosales (2nd), 2B Cliff Pennington (1st), RP Jerry Blevins (1st)


Potential Free Agent Targets:

The above list represents my first glance at the potential free agents for 2013. Mike Napoli would be an ideal fit for the A's, though I'm not sure the A's would be interested. The team seemed content with letting Derrek Norris develop, but catchers with Napoli's power don't come along too often. He could also play some first base if either Brandon Moss or Chris Carterdon't repeat their 2012 success. Scutaro and Keppinger seem to be options if the A's don't retain Stephen Drew at shortstop. Meanwhile, Beane could be interested in bringing some former Athletics back to the Green and Gold in Rich Harden and Joe Blanton. Harden sat out all of 2012 with injury and would come cheap. He could fit in either as a reliever or starter and could probably get him for a minor league deal. As for Blanton, he is an innings eater that could fill the rotation spot vacated by Bartolo Colon. I want the A's to get at least one starter via free agency to create competition among Milone, Griffin, and Straily heading into next season.

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