Inbox: Is bullpen help on the way for A's?

Beat reporter Martin Gallegos answers questions from Oakland fans

January 3rd, 2020

Are the A’s content with their current bullpen or are they seeking more help?
-- @_frankmart

It’s hard to be content with a relief corps that led the Majors with 32 blown saves last season. That being said, the A’s front office does not view the bullpen situation as one in need of a complete overhaul. Solid back-end pieces remain in place, such as All-Star closer , and . , who struggled last year after a dominant rookie campaign in 2018, and , who posted a career-high 4.30 ERA but carries a track record of success with a career 3.02 ERA, are two right-handers the club believes are candidates to bounce back.

The A’s were one of several clubs interested in Sergio Romo before he signed a one-year deal with the Twins, and they’ll continue to look at other relievers available through the free-agent and trade markets. They are looking for help, but expect it to be more of a minor tweak as opposed to a major gutting of the bullpen.

What are the current options for second base? Is a realistic piece? What’s the probability of keeping and ?
-- @RonanGrube

Barreto, Mateo and remain the top candidates for the A’s starting second-base job. Machin, who was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft last month via trade from the Phillies, is viewed at this point as more of a versatile left-handed bench bat who can fill in all around the diamond or even in the outfield.

Could Mateo and Barreto both stick around? The way it looks right now, it’s going be hard to get just one of those two on the Opening Day roster, let alone both. With both out of options, it’s highly unlikely either player would go unclaimed on waivers, so the A’s have to prepare to lose one of them. The feeling right now is that Barreto has the upper hand at second base, but he along with Mateo and Neuse are expected to compete for the spot in Spring Training.

Are there any hints that the A’s might look into trading for someone like Mookie Betts for a one-year payroll spike to elevate the roster?
-- @theRealZTharani

I don’t think the A’s are necessarily opposed to trading for a rental, but Betts might be a bit too rich for the A’s, not just on the payroll side, but also in terms of prospects that would need to be given up. If the A’s were to make a move for a “big name,” it would likely come during the season and closer to the Trade Deadline. Right now, there really aren’t a whole lot of holes on the roster, so I wouldn’t expect a huge trade this winter.

Will the A’s ever focus on winning during the year at hand instead of thinking about the future?
-- @Realbobshaffer

Coming off consecutive 97-win seasons and with their top three prospects gearing up for their first full seasons in the Majors, the future is now. Even during the A's run to the postseason last year, there was always a feeling that 2020 is the year to make some real noise. They’ll enter the upcoming season 100 percent focused on winning now and feeling like they’re just beginning a championship window with so many young pieces ready to make an impact.

Are there any changes planned for the Coliseum now that the Raiders are officially gone?
-- @ianoble

With the A’s now the Oakland Coliseum’s lone tenant, I am certain a popular request among A’s players and coaches will be to move into the spacious locker room that was previously occupied by the Raiders. No official changes have been announced, but I would expect most of them to come behind the scenes, such as adding another batting cage somewhere down below near the current locker areas.

Where does fit in? Will there be a spot for him?
-- @mwaxman13

Mengden is out of Minor League options, so a decision might have to be made on him this spring. It’s unlikely he cracks the starting rotation, but he has had success out of the bullpen in the past and certainly would be a candidate for a long-relief role. The A’s could take a chance and try to sneak him through waivers if he did not make the Opening Day roster, but he’s still young and has had success in the Majors, so another team would likely pick him up.