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Elephant Rumblings: Black Friday Shopping for the 2024 Oakland A’s

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Happy belated Thanksgiving, Athletics Nation!

I hope y’all all had enough food and family time to fill the hole left by the relocation vote. If you didn’t, then maybe some Black Friday shopping will do you some good. Ignore this half-assed shopping list for the A’s from The Athletic, where they suggested Oakland sign Kolten Wong to man second base, one of the few positions the A’s have accounted for. To make up for their flub, I compiled a few realistic names I think would actually improve the 2024 squad. Let’s go bargain bin shopping!

C Austin Nola

Now 34 years old, the older of the Nola brothers is coming off a miserable final season with the San Diego Padres. During Spring Training, he was hit in the face by a pitch that led to gave him oculomotor dysfunction, which hinders the brain’s ability to coordinate eye movement, an undoubtedly critical function for a hitter and catcher. If he can make strides in his recovery, he could serve as a left-handed complement and veteran mentor for Shea Langeliers. There probably wouldn’t be any other teams that would offer him more than a minor league deal, so the A’s could have a leg up by guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot.

RP Michael Fulmer

With the bullpen as unsettled as ever, the A’s will once again have the advantage of offering a good reliever an over-market contract and guaranteeing them the closer role to boost their value for the trade deadline and their next free agency foray, a strategy they’ve utilized countless times to admittedly mixed results. You could name a number of pitchers here but my favorite is Fulmer, who had a limited run as the Tigers’ closer in 2021. Since that breakout, he’s been closer average than elite and is entering the wrong side of 30. A few months of low-pressure, high-pressure ninth innings in Oakland could help showcase to teams he still has room to grow.

SP Frankie Montas

The reunion that all A’s fan would be unanimously in favor is one with our former ace Frankie Montas. Not only did he blossom into a top-line pitcher in Oakland, he also helped us build our next rotation core with JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk, and Luis Medina leading the 2023 pitching staff in innings pitched. Cooper Bowman also quietly had a breakout season at AA. If Montas came back after one-and-a-half seasons on the IL and pitched well, it would be the ultimate cherry on top of our ever-growing “Fleeced the Yankees” sundae.

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