Given how close we were to advancing further in the playoffs, what moves do you see the A's FO making this hot stove season? Will it be simply a tweak, or do you see a remodel?
The fact of the matter is that the A's were a 96 win team that had the bad luck of running into a Detroit rotation that was historically good by some measurements. With the exception of Bartolo Colon, the core of this A's team is relatively young, and signed through next season. I fully expect the A's to compete again in 2014. Given that, I don't think Beane is inclined to undertake a team re-model, unless of course, there is an offer he absolutely cannot refuse. I could see the A's making a run at another starter, medium-term 2B solution, or maybe another bullpen piece, but the team's construction is such that the only moves that upgrade the team significantly would be relatively large.
I have always wondered whether some players would be worth bringing back from the past. Billy has tried it a few times in recent years with a few players who were once an integral part of the A's (Giambi, Frank Thomas, Kurt Suzuki come to mind). Are there any players that the A's could target this offseason to get them over the hump? Do you know the whereabouts of players such as Michael Wuertz, Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer, Dallas Braden, Barry Zito, and Eric Chavez and would any of them be able to help the A's out?
Here are the whereabouts of the players you mentioned, so far as I can tell:
Michael Wuertz - York Revolution, Atlantic League (independent ball)
Rich Harden - released by the Twins in July. Attempting to repair his shoulder with chicken wire and duct tape
Justin Duchscherer - released by the Orioles in 2011
Dallas Braden - Last pitched in April 2011. Lost beard-growing contest to Brian Wilson.
Barry Zito - Giants declined his 2014 option. Shocker.
Eric Chavez - Free Agent. Could return to Arizona.
The problem with older players is that they are often past their prime. In these cases, past their prime is an understatement. Out of those six players, only two are MLB caliber still (Zito and Chavez), and even so, are likely to be bit pieces on the teams they sign with. They have no place on the A's, and it wouldn't shock me if either retired. More appropriate than oldies but goodies would be oldies and bad.
As far as other players the A's could target who have been with the team before, David O'Brien reported yesterday that the A's were contact with Tim Hudson:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>8 teams have contacted <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Braves&src=hash">#Braves</a> FA pitcher Hudson, including Red Sox, Giants, A's, Rangers. ATL made him 1-yr offer (not qualifying offer)</p>— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) <a href="https://twitter.com/ajcbraves/statuses/397437838829965312">November 4, 2013</a></blockquote>
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He is someone remaining from the early 2000s glory days who is still a potentially useful pitcher. He should also be fully recovered from that horrific ankle injury he suffered at the hands of Eric Young. Jr. late in the year. On other hand, Colon has had a better season more recently than Hudson, and has shown interest in his returning himself. I'd say Hudson would be a Plan B should Colon not ultimately re-sign with the A's.
If your question has yet to be answered - never fear. We will attempt to answer all of them (although we may consolidate some questions that belong together). The offseason is long and there is plenty of time to get through everything!