SAN DIEGO -- Adding versatility to the roster is a main focus for the A’s this offseason and they came away from the Winter Meetings with a pair of signings that addressed those needs.
The A’s reached agreements with utility infielders Jace Peterson and Aledmys Díaz, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday. Both deals are for two years, with Díaz’s contract worth $14.5 million, per the source. Both deals are pending physicals and have not been confirmed by the club. On the pitching side, the A’s acquired right-hander Chad Smith in a trade with the Rockies on Tuesday.
“I can’t confirm anything that hasn’t been officially reported yet, but we feel good about some of the things that we got done while we were here,” said A’s general manager David Forst. “I think we moved a lot of things forward. A lot of players have signed around the league in the last couple of days and I think that’s clarified some of the conversations that are related.”
BIGGEST REMAINING NEEDS
1. Starting pitcher: James Kaprielian’s status for the start of the regular season is unknown after he underwent shoulder surgery this offseason to repair an AC joint issue that delayed his start to the season last spring. Kaprielian’s absence would leave the A’s with All-Star Paul Blackburn, Cole Irvin and rookies such as Ken Waldichuk, JP Sears and Adrián Martínez as options for the rotation. According to a source, the A’s were in on veteran lefty José Quintana before he reportedly signed with the Mets on Wednesday. At some point this offseason, expect Oakland to bring in an experienced veteran-type starter who can provide innings.
2. Bullpen depth: The A’s discovered some promising young relief arms such as Dany Jiménez and Zach Jackson who emerged with late-inning roles in 2022, but like the rotation, they’d like to find some experienced arms to bring in for the bullpen.
“We’ve been looking since the end of the year at upgrades specifically to the bullpen,” Forst said. “There’s a lot of talent in our 'pen but not a lot of experience. We need to continue to add to it and be able to nail down some of these games that we weren’t able to nail down in 2022.”
3. Outfield: The A’s used several players in right field last season and never quite discovered a permanent option. That could put them in play for a corner outfielder looking to rebuild value on a one-year deal like Joey Gallo or Wil Myers.
RULE 5 DRAFT
Noda, 26, slashed .259/.396/.474 with 25 home runs, 23 doubles, 90 RBIs and 20 stolen bases at Triple-A Oklahoma City last season. For an A’s club that went through 12 first basemen in 2022, Noda figures to get a good look at the position come Spring Training.
"I like the power. I like the walks. I like the defense at first base,” Forst said of Noda. “We've asked the Dodgers about him a number of times over the last two years. His name came up in the [Adam] Kolarek deal and other potential trades. This was finally our opportunity to give him a shot. The last two years, he’s done everything you could ask at Double-A and Triple-A, so I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity.”
Del Rosario, 21, posted a 3.68 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) with 76 strikeouts in 93 innings for Single-A Bradenton in 2022.
“Good arm with a fastball up to 97 mph,” Forst said. “He throws strikes and gets ground balls, some of the things that you look for in a starter to hope that they continue to succeed as they move up the ladder. He performed in A-ball and we’ll give him a chance to move up.”
GM’S BOTTOM LINE
In what could be viewed as somewhat of a minor surprise, Sean Murphy remains a member of the A’s despite his name swirling in trade rumors over the past few days. The Cardinals, one of the several teams who were linked to the 28-year-old catcher, reportedly came to an agreement on a five-year deal with free-agent catcher Willson Contreras on Wednesday, which could have an effect on whether teams might ramp up their pursuit of Murphy.
“I do think any time a similar player at the position comes off the board, it does have an effect on conversations,” said Forst.
Asked if the A’s are seeking Major League pieces in return for a possible Murphy deal, Forst said: “I wouldn’t sort of limit ourselves to just that in any trade conversation. We’ve made a lot of trades in the last 12 months, mostly for guys who were not in the big leagues in 2022. Hopefully, those guys are now that much closer and we continue to add players to the organization who are either close or at the big league level.”