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In closing …

I think I reverse-jinxed the winter meetings. In yesterday’s story, I wrote all about how the winter meetings no longer produce the big trades they used to. Then the Mets go out and land reliever J.J. Putz in a three-team, 12-player deal Wednesday night. Beautiful …

**As Las Vegas gets left in the rear-view mirror, here’s a few remaining A’s tidbits: Billy Beane downplayed the possibility of either of his top pitching prospects, left-hander Brett Anderson or right-hander Trevor Cahill, joining the A’s rotation out of spring training. “Our idea is for them to continue finishing out the development process in Triple-A,” he said. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t jump from Sacramento to Oakland very, very soon, right? And even though Beane won’t say it, either one could probably force their way into the rotation with a sensational spring.

Speaking of Anderson and Cahill, Beane said that opposing teams know those two are pretty much untouchable in potential trades. But the GM did hold some low-key trade talks during the winter meetings that may or may not develop into something more. Depending on what kind of offers they receive, the A’s have to decide which of their other pitching prospects (and they’ve got many) they might be willing to give up. That’s definitely where they have a surplus.

**If the A’s don’t sign Rafael Furcal, identifying an everyday leadoff hitter has to be one of the team’s big missions come spring training. When asked about the top leadoff candidates on his current roster earlier this week, the first names Bob Geren mentioned were Travis Buck and Ryan Sweeney. But before Buck can be considered for the top spot in the order, the A’s have to be convinced he’s ready to play every day in the majors, period.

**Just as they did last winter, the A’s recently invited the bulk of their roster to Phoenix for an offseason health check-up of sorts. But this winter there was a different wrinkle, as new strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo ran players through some conditioning drills. Geren said some of his key players coming off injuries — including Eric Chavez, Justin Duchscherer and Daric Barton (he had right hip surgery in October, remember) — all looked good in Phoenix and are recovering well.

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich

  • Derek

    The A’s need a legit leadoff hitter. Travis Buck and Ryan Sweeney are to slow to be legit leadoff hitters.

    How can anyone in their right mind look at those two and think Ricky Henderson, Campy Campanaris, Maury Wills, Brett Butler.

    Get real !