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Headley had chance to join A’s; that money will stay in play; Korean shortstop Kang is not among those likely to get it

Eric Sogard is the only remaining member of the 2014 A's infield still with the team after free agency Jed Lowrie signed Sunday with Houston.

Eric Sogard is the only remaining member of the 2014 A’s infield still with the team after free agency Jed Lowrie signed Sunday with Houston.

In trading Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija this off-season, the A’s have made it very clear that they are going younger in 2015. And, as a byproduct, they are seeing their payroll obligations much reduced.

But they A’s were willing to chase at least one expensive free agent, Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley, this time around. I wrote about the possibility when the Donaldson trade went down. And when the third baseman signed a four-year $52-million deal Monday with the Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of Fox confirmed via Twitter that Oakland had indeed made a competitive offer for Headley early on.

While no one now will get from the A’s as much as they were willing to offer Headley, the A’s still have money to spend in free agency.

But despite the rumors that persist on the internet, Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang will not be one on the Oakland shopping list. Kang was posted Monday, but at the winter meetings, A’s general manager Billy Beane made it clear the A’s were not interested.

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Canha could be intriguing option for A’s at third base

Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, will get every chance to stick with A's in 2015.

Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, is mostly a left fielder and first baseman, but he can play some third, and A’s may well give him that chance in 2015.

The smart money says the A’s aren’t done with their tri-annual roster remake, but as we await those, there are some intriguing possibilities put forward by the moves the club already has made since the end of the season.

For me, one of the more compelling is the addition of Rule 5 slugger Mark Canha, the Cal product who is mostly a first baseman and left fielder.

He also plays third base, and has a Triple-A slash line good enough – .303/.384/.505 – that the A’s traded a young pitcher they liked, Austin House, Thursday morning to make sure they could emerge from the Rule 5 draft with Canha, the owner of 68 career minor league homers, in the fold.

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Ex-Golden Bear Canha will get every chance to stick with A’s

Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, will get every chance to stick with A's in 2015.

Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, will get every chance to stick with A’s in 2015.

Oakland had one more trick up its sleeve before leaving town at the end of the Winter Meetings Thursday, trading with the Colorado Rockies for infielder/outfielder Mark Canha.

The A’s sent minor league pitcher Austin House and cash to the Rockies, who had just minutes earlier taken Canha off the roster of the Miami Marlins as the second pick in the Rule 5 draft. To make room on the big league roster, the A’s designated Shane Peterson for assignment.

Under baseball rules, Canha was drafted at a cost of $50,000 and must remain on the A’s 25-man roster all year or be offered back to the Marlins for $25,000.

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Ynoa gets a second chance as A’s get minor league depth

When the A’s shelled out $4.25 million for Dominican right-handed pitcher Michael Ynoa back in 2008, it was a record for an international signing by a Major League club.

That, sadly, was the high point for Ynoa’s time with the A’s. He was a hard thrower with a big arm who never developed. It happens.

He missed two of his first three seasons, first in 2009 with elbow tendinitis, then after he came back, he needed Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch in 2011.

At 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, Ynoa originally was seen as a prospect who could develop into a top-end starting pitcher. It never happened.

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Healthy Jaso will catch, but wonders if it will be with the A’s

John Jaso wants to be back with the A's, but doesn't know if a trade is in his future.

John Jaso wants to be back with the A’s, but doesn’t know if a trade is in his future.

It’s possible that the A’s have done their damage at the 113th Winter Meetings and will cool their heels the rest of the week, but it’s not a solid bet.

Oakland still has at least one other player the A’s might consider moving, catcher John Jaso. To be sure, general manager  Billy Beane is a huge fan of Jaso, who works the count, has a habit of coming up with timely hits and who is an on-base machine.

On the down side, he’s had concussions the last two years that have taken him out of back-to-back stretch drives with Oakland. Doctors have given him the go-ahead to resume catching.

“I think that’s ancient history now,’’ Jaso told me Tuesday morning. “I’m moving on, starting my workouts and I’m ready to go. As of right now, I’m still planning on taking up catching again, whatever team I’m on.’’

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Semien, Bassitt could get shot to be immediate contributors

Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley with soxThe slow process of rebuilding the Oakland A’s took another step forward Tuesday with the completion of a deal with the Chicago White Sox that saw Oakland potentially bring a starting shortstop and a starting pitcher into the fold.

At the cost of top-end starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and minor league reliever Michael Ynoa, the A’s added four players, two of whom, infielder Marcus Semien and pitcher Chris Bassitt, could have an immediate impact on the big league club.

The two other players acquired, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Rangel Ravelo, figure to be Triple-A players to start 2015.

Semien, from St. Mary’s High and the University of California, will have the shortstop job to lose come spring training. He’s mostly been a third baseman with a secondary role at second base for the White Sox, but in the minor leagues two-thirds of his playing time has been at second base.

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Shark nets A’s starting shortstop, potential starting pitcher

Jeff Samardzija was finally dealt to the White Sox Tuesday along with minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa.

Jeff Samardzija was finally dealt to the White Sox Tuesday along with minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa.

The Oakland A’s finally completed their deal to send starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox, getting a potential starting shortstop and potential member of the starting rotation in return.

The A’s, who also sent minor leaguer Michael Ynoa to Chicago, landed right-handed starter Chris Bassitt, shortstop Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley and infielder Rangel Ravelo.

Semien has spent most of his brief big league career at second base, but he was drafted as a shortstop and has played some there. The A’s, who have been badly in need of a shortstop with Jed Lowrie leaving via free agency, are betting that he can play shortstop adequately.

Described by a rival club’s general manager as “primarily an offensive player,’’ Semien was on the White Sox’s opening day roster in 2014, played in 64 games and hit .234 in 65 games with a .300 on-base percentage and six homers. He’s only played six big league games at shortstop (50 at third base, 29 at second base), but 250 of his 387 minor league games have been at short.

Bassitt, who will turn 26 before spring training, is a right-hander with command and a moving 91-94 mph fastball that has been tough on right-handed hitters. He pitched six one-run innings against Oakland last September when the A’s got a look at his deceptive delivery.

He can top out at 96mph with his fastball upon occasion, but he has a slider that breaks nicely and a slow curve (69-75 mph) that he uses as a changeup.

He suffered a broken hand last year, but went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA with the Sox is six games, five starts. As a minor leaguer, he was 3-1 with a 2.08 before his August promotion to the big leagues.

Phegley, a 24-year-old right-hander, hit 23 homers and hit .274 at Triple-A in 2014, finishing second in the International League with 57 extra-base hits and third in homers ad slugging percentage (.530).

Ravelo, who began his career as a third baseman, is primarily a first baseman now. He hit .309 with 37 doubles, four triples, 11 homers, 66 RBIs and a .386 on-base percentage.

Samardzija, a 2014 National League All-Star, came to the A’s in a June trade and would have been no worse than the A’s No. 2 starter had he remained with the team.

Ynoa, at one point a big-time prospect for the A’s, never responded the way the A’s had hoped after 2011’s Tommy John surgery. He was 4-2 with a 5.52 ERA in 31 games as a reliever with Single-A Stockton this year.

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Opposing GM likes A’s newest shortstop, Marcus Semien

Jeff Samardzija's trade to the White Sox will be announced Tuesday.

Jeff Samardzija’s trade to the White Sox will be announced Tuesday.

If you must know, the A’s aren’t the only team looking for young shortstop talent here at the winter meetings.

Oakland has one advantage. The A’s have a pitcher everybody wants, Jeff Samardzija, and for the right price the A’s are willing to let him go. The A’s starting pitching would take a hit if the Shark is traded, but if the A’s can get a potential starting shortstop and add to their team depth, Oakland will bite the bullet.

Word got out that a deal with the Chicago White Sox was done, Samardzija returning to his home, but without any clarity on whom the A’s would get in return.

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A’s deal Moss to Indians for second base prospect Wendle

Brandon Moss has been traded to Cleveland for minor league second baseman Joe  Wendle

Brandon Moss has been traded to Cleveland for minor league second baseman Joe
Wendle

The middle of the A’s 2014 batting order took another major hit Monday with the news the A’s have traded first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss to the Cleveland Indians, a deal whose origins I was the first to announce last week via Twitter.

In return, the A’s will get second baseman Joe Wendle, who has never played about Double-A. In 87 games with Akron last year, he hit .253 with a .311 on-base percentage, eight homers and 50 RBIs.

It was the second big move of the Winter Meetings’ first morning, the other being former A’s starting pitcher Jason Hammel signing a deal with the Cubs, the team from which the A’s got him last June.

Wendle, who missed much of last season with a hamate injury, is well-liked by scouts, who covet his offensive potential, particularly his extra-base muscle.

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Indians interested in prying Brandon Moss away from A’s

A's first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss is being sought by the Indians.

A’s first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss is being sought by the Indians.

The A’s are talking with the Indians in a deal Cleveland hopes will land them first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss.

A source close to the A’s said no deal was imminent, but it’s possible something could happen by the end of the week.

It was just last week that the A’s traded third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto for young veteran third baseman Brett Lawrie (24) and three Blue Jays prospects.

It seems that any deal involving Moss would likely follow the same course, Oakland getting younger and adding depth at the high minor league level with the hope that they’d get contributions from the newcomers sometime in 2015.

Moss, 31, is coming off surgery five weeks ago to repair hip damage and is currently on crutches, but his surgeon, Dr. Thomas Byrd, said after the Oct. 23 surgery that Moss should be good to go come spring training.

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