Catching up on a quiet (so far) A’s offseason

Hello everybody … long time, no blog.

I’ve been doubling up lately with Cal football coverage and that’s taken the lion’s share of my time. But “Inside the A’s” has been neglected long enough, so I wanted to drop in. Not that there’s been a ton of A’s news to report anyway this offseason. By now you’ve caught the drift that the A’s won’t be as aggressive going after players as they were last winter (unless those acquisitions come in the form of prospects via trade). You might have seen this story from ESPN’s Buster Olney regarding the A’s being sellers, largely because their stadium situation remains unsettled. If the A’s get approval to build a ballpark in San Jose, we know that GM Billy Beane plans to rebuild with younger players, hoping to have a nucleus ready to blossom when that ballpark opens for business. If they were to be denied, it’s possible they might open the checkbook a little more. And what if the issue continues to drag through the winter with no word from MLB? The indications I’ve gotten are that the A’s won’t spend aggressively as long as they remain in limbo.

Olney wrote that he could see the A’s trading starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey. Of the two, I see Bailey as the stronger possibility to go. If the A’s don’t see themselves contending in 2012, then a dominant closer becomes less of a necessity. And Bailey could fetch a nice haul given he’s just 27 and under team control for the next three seasons. A front-of-the-rotation starter such as Gonzalez is more of a foundation piece and much tougher for a team to replace. Having said that, if a team knocks Beane’s socks off with an offer for Gonzalez, I think he would certainly pull the trigger. The Marlins are looking for starting pitching as they move into their new ballpark in Miami, and this report out of Florida says they’re eyeing Gonzalez, who is from the Miami area and would be a great addition from a baseball and marketing standpoint. The question is whether the Marlins (or any team) have the pieces to pry Gonzalez away.

Here’s some key dates to keep an eye on:

Nov. 23: This is the last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to a Type “A” or “B” free agent in order to get compensation should that player sign elsewhere. The A’s have decisions to make on outfielders Josh Willingham and David DeJesus. Willingham is a Type A, meaning the A’s stand to get a first-round pick and a sandwich pick (between the first and second rounds) should he be offered arbitration and sign elsewhere. DeJesus is Type B, meaning the A’s would get a sandwich pick if he’s offered arb and signs elsewhere. The risk for teams, of course, is that a player unexpectedly accepts arbitration, and the team is stuck paying a large salary to a player it didn’t expect to have around. I see no such risk with Willingham. He’s likely to land a multi-year deal somewhere and would seemingly want to keep his options open. DeJesus might be more willing to accept arbitration, so unless the A’s feel good about him returning, they have a decision on whether to offer it. Sometimes a team and player will reach a gentleman’s agreement that the player won’t accept arbitration if offered. I’m not sure if that’s being discussed with DeJesus.

Dec. 5-8: The four-day event known as the winter meetings, where reporters bump into each other as they walk with noses buried in cell phones, monitoring Twitter. The A’s are often subject of rumors at the meetings, but usually this period is a time for them to lay the groundwork for future moves. Now that I’ve said that, they’re bound to pull a blockbuster there. Just you watch …

Dec. 12: The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. It’s an important day because any arb-eligible player not offered a contract is cut loose and becomes a free agent. The A’s have 10 players eligible for arbitration – Gonzalez, Bailey, relievers Craig Breslow and Joey Devine, starters Dallas Braden and Brandon McCarthy, first baseman Daric Barton, outfielder Ryan Sweeney, infielder Adam Rosales and catcher Landon Powell. Beane said at his season-ending press conference he expects all will be tendered contracts, but we won’t know until deadline day.

Joe Stiglich

  • John1953

    Thanks Joe, we look forward to your knowledgable blogs.

    I can’t believe any owner would not be comitted to winning as the biggest priority. No one forced them to buy a ballclub… No one should be allowed to buy an anti-trust exempt and tax-privileged baseball team, without the fundamental intention o f winning. Oh I keep forgetting, the A’s are a real estate business, not sport. The balance sheet, not the standings, are the metric of winning. It is classless not to compete to win.

  • Don Hayes

    Thanks for the information, good job. Frustrating waiting on stadium action from the MLB.

  • Derek

    A’s management has the be the worst in Baseball. A teams like the Dodgers plays in an old stadiums, are for sale by a broke and dyfunctional owner, yet still able to sign free agents.

    Conversely old man Wolfe has his flunky Beane fielding a piss poor, unexciting, low budget team to keep fans away to justify a move to San Jose. The cheap scum hopes to have the city and/or county build him a stadium to enhance his already enormous wealth.

    The A’s and its fan base will suffer until old man Wolfe dies or sale, neither could come to soon.

    Guys like Wolfe(greedy scumbags) are exactly what ails this nation.

  • Stan

    Derek is right on. I cant believe Joe you pass on that the stadium issue is why Beane is tight. Beane has been tight from the day the Fishers and Wolff got their paws on the team-what difference does another fake excuse mean? He has been a seller for a decade now..and MLB is populated with former stars who the A’s org “traded”-if you call what Beane did trades- while the A’s are reduced to marginal players 3x time removed from the high quality player the team once had.

    Btw-When are the local media going to talk to the Fishers? Have ANY of you contacted them? sat down with them? THEY have the money..and money talks-right?

  • Stan

    If the Fisher family and Wolff and Beane are so certain a new stadium will bring wealth and prosperity-then why not build the stadium themselves and keep all the profits?
    Or is it they know a new stadium is just something pretty, It’s also a good crutch for them right now to lean on and they already make a huge profit..Liars-all the A’s ownership group is,is liars.

  • ron darling

    It’s sad that the A’s feel that until a resolution on their stadium arrises, they won’t be able to make any decision on their roster. Currently they have zero outfielders (Ryan Sweeney isn’t really a starter), and question marks at the corner infield positions. Sorry to see that they are so concerned about everything else. Fielding a competitive should be a priority, too.


  • Stan

    The A’s pocketed 40 million as they got their welfare check from MLB.
    No wonder Beane is happy with losing every year. Actually he about orgasms this time every year too. Losing makes for a happy Beane household.

  • Stan

    American business. And the people tenting in the parks for justice we place in jail cells.

  • Stan

    Also-maybe its time to point out that Beane and Wolff and the Fishers have made for a terrible ownership group in Oakland and will also make a terrible ownership group in San Jose.
    And I guess i have a long wait for any local reporter to knock on the Fishers door instead of taking Wolff’s word for things. Wolff should be sidestepped,is my feeling. He’s just a overpaid shill spokesman.

  • Stan

    The Raiders-and this it for little Billy and his freinds like Sue- sold 59,000 out yesterday. Why would the Raiders sell out the old Coloseum and not the A’s? Well,my great journalistic skills Sue,and my business sense,Billy,tell me..they WIN. That’s the way!

  • Greenmachine

    Okay- lot of blasting on Beane and Co. on this site today and I am as frustrated as anyone else about this team’s inability to field a team the fans will come to see. But can we really blame the ownership for wanting to make a profit off of their investment? I mean doesn’t Lew deserve the Welfare profits from the team. After all, the price of Yacht’s haven’t come down any.

  • Dan

    One more note of interest: Billy Beane is MIKE NOLAN of the east bay. Enough said, look at similarities however, 49ers were smart to get rid off him sooner. We the A’s fans are still waiting!!

  • DKnight007

    A’s get rid of Bailey and Sweeney for only three players?

    Should have received three for just Bailey!

  • DKnight007

    As Monte stated in his article. Beane the part owner is making these blatant moves of trading away 3 of their All Stars for “prospects”

    They are trying to force MLB’s regarding the move to SJ, or they already have an idea, that they will be given the go ahead, hence why these drastic trades were made.

    Wow. The A’s may get 8-10k fans a game instead of the 15K that were showing up.

  • marc

    Can we please get a REAL beat writer like Baggerly???? Joe blows! He never updates and when he does it is extremely short or he cuts and pastes. What a joke. Comcast sportsnet is much better. I thought I would check back in here, and Nov 16th is the last update. I mean really? Good riddance.

  • Stan

    Marc-ya got to refresh your browser-THATS why your only seeing old posts..he updated the 5th.

  • EastCoastA

    We still cheer on the A’s – but remember (both realistically and metaphorically) – the Wolff is at the door!