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A’s non-tender Jack Cust, Edwin Encarnacion and Travis Buck; is Oakland making play for Adrian Beltre?

The news was slow to trickle out of A’s headquarters today regarding their non-tender decisions. But the team just announced they have non-tendered DH Jack Cust, third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and outfielder Travis Buck. That means all three players become free agents. The A’s tendered contracts to the other seven players eligible for arbitration: pitchers Dallas Braden, Craig Breslow, Joey Devine and Brad Ziegler; outfielders Conor Jackson and Ryan Sweeney; and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Last year, the A’s made the same move with Cust, but the two sides wound up agreeing on a one-year deal later on. Not sure I’d expect either side to want to travel that same road again. Cust’s departure isn’t a surprise, given the A’s are making a big push for Lance Berkman as their DH. Adam Dunn reportedly will sign with the White Sox, so he’s out of the A’s picture, though he was never a strong possibility for Oakland anyway, from what I gathered.

The biggest news was the A’s decision to retain Kouzmanoff over Encarnacion at third base. But the A’s may not be done addressing that position. Multiple reports today claimed the A’s are in serious pursuit of third baseman Adrian Beltre, with ESPN saying a deal could be close to happening. But Beltre told the Boston Globe today that he’s waiting to see what other offers develop, and that his preference is to return to the Red Sox. He added that he could sign a deal “right now if I wanted to.” Is he referring to a deal with Oakland?

As things stand, Kouzmanoff is the A’s starting third baseman. I’m not surprised they retained him over Encarnacion. The A’s brass is placing a heavy emphasis on infield defense, and Kouzmanoff is better defensively than Encarnacion. In all liklihood, he’ll also come a bit cheaper.

The A’s will now try negotiating contracts with all seven players they tendered, and avoid actually going to the arbitration table. The team has had great success avoiding arbitration in the past, usually agreeing to one-year deals with players as the offseason moves along.

Joe Stiglich

  • Josef

    Hey Joe– Does this mean that we basically traded away Rajai with no benefit? I know the OF was getting crowded and he was about to hit arbitration, but it seems as though we could’ve gotten something helpful in return. You say?

  • mo

    we didnt trade rajai for encarnacion. we traded him to the jays for 2 releavers..

  • Bryan

    well they need to make Beltre’ happen sooner than later. If he signs maybe other big bats will look to the A’s as a potential playoff team.

  • Joe Stiglich

    To back up what Mo wrote, Rajai was dealt to Toronto for relievers Trystan Magnuson and Danny Farquhar. Both pitched at Double-A last season. The A’s think both could help in big leagues before long.

  • steve

    So why pick up Encarnacion in the first place??? What did this do for us??? Did we pay him at all?? Did we have to give the jays anything as far as compensation for claiming him???

  • Joe Stiglich

    Steve, the A’s didn’t have to pay anything for him. They would have only been on the hook for money had they tendered him a contract for arbitration. It was a no-risk move. So why did they get him if they had no intention of keeping him? Maybe they wanted to gauge trade interest in both him and Kouzmanoff, and see if they could get something in return for one of them. … Also, keep in mind this guy’s now a free agent, and if he doesn’t get a lot of interest elsewhere, the A’s could look to re-sign him for a salary lower than what he would have gotten through arbitration.

    A bit confusing, but that’s how I see it …