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A’s eyeing Big Unit

You may have seen a piece from Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal,  saying the A’s are interested in free agent lefty Randy Johnson. I got in touch with one of Johnson’s agents, Alan Nero, who confirmed the two sides have spoken as recently as this week. “The calls have been quite informal right now,” Nero said. “Barry (Meister, who represents Johnson along with Nero) and I are going to the winter meetings. Hopefully we’ll sit down (with the A’s) and see if there’s something more substantive.” He added that the A’s are one of about five or six teams showing the same degree of interest at this point.

Going after Johnson makes a lot of sense to me. With all the attention paid to the A’s efforts to add hitters (and Rosenthal thinks they’re still front runners for Rafael Furcal), don’t forget that their starting rotation needs some shoring up. Right now I’d pencil in Justin Duchscherer, Sean Gallagher, Dana Eveland and Gio Gonzalez as starters, but all come with question marks because of health concerns and/or inexperience. There’s some young studs knocking on the major league door, but how soon will they be ready?

The Big Unit would certainly fill a need as a reliable veteran starter. Yes he’s 45, but his numbers from last season were very solid. … He’s a local guy — born in Walnut Creek, graduated from Livermore High — which could make the A’s a nice place for him to finish his career. He’s just five wins shy of 300 and would give the team some marketing muscle as well.

I’ll be interested to see what kind of salary Johnson commands. He made $15.1 million last season with Arizona, and was willing to play for half of that to stay with the D-backs in ’09. No agreement was reached. If he makes himself available on a one-year deal in the $6-10 million range, I’d expect some Big Interest in the Big Unit …

As for Furcal, the Giants’ signing of Edgar Renteria bodes well in the A’s chase for him. The Giants were considered one of the main players for Furcal, so that eliminates one competing team. Furcal’s agent has said he doesn’t expect any deal to get done before the winter meetings, which begin Monday.

Joe Stiglich

  • Oakland Si

    if Johnson is healthy he’d be a nice addition for 2009. I too think the rotation needs at least one more experienced arm.

  • Oakland4ever

    With Furcal & Johnson signed, the A’s could make a run in 2009…hope thet signings happen!!