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Offseason checklist: A's needs and moves

@MartinJGallegos
November 2, 2019

OAKLAND -- For a second straight year, the A’s won 97 games and reached the postseason. But for the second straight year, they were also bounced out in the American League Wild Card Game, extending their losing streak in win-or-go-home contests to nine games. What are the A’s biggest needs

OAKLAND -- For a second straight year, the A’s won 97 games and reached the postseason. But for the second straight year, they were also bounced out in the American League Wild Card Game, extending their losing streak in win-or-go-home contests to nine games.

What are the A’s biggest needs entering 2020 in order to get over the hump, and what moves have they made to address them? MLB.com is keeping track here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.

BIGGEST NEEDS

Relief pitching
The A’s have an All-Star closer in Liam Hendriks and a reliable workhorse in Yusmeiro Petit, then a bunch of question marks. Lou Trivino followed up a spectacular rookie season in 2018 with a severe sophomore slump that ended with him on the injured list. Blake Treinen went from dominant All-Star closer in '18 to losing his role to Hendriks in a season filled with injuries, leaving the A’s on the fence about whether or not they should bring him back next year, especially as he’s set to get a raise through arbitration.

For a club looking to overtake the Astros as AL West division champions and avoid the dreaded Wild Card Game, they’ll have to find a way to bolster a bullpen that blew 30 saves, the most in the Majors. Big names like left-handers Will Smith and Will Harris and right-hander Dellin Betances headline the list of free-agent relievers. Oakland could also utilize its abundance of second-base options in a trade to acquire relief help.

Second base
Jurickson Profar’s defensive issues reached a point where the A’s will likely enter 2020 looking for another option at the position. Profar could return to the club -- he’s still eligible for arbitration -- but his role would likely switch to being more of a utility option. Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo are both out of options next year, so they’ll likely get a chance to battle it out in Spring Training for a chance to seize the job. Sheldon Neuse, who earned a September callup last year and impressed the A’s front office with his ability to handle second after playing third for most of his Minor League career, is another option to take over at the position. The A’s could also look to flip Barreto or Mateo in a deal for a more experienced second baseman.

MOVES MADE

Oct. 31: Petit gets club option picked up
Yusmeiro Petit is a favorite of A’s manager Bob Melvin. Not only is the 34-year-old right-hander still getting it done, having led the AL with 80 appearances while posting a 2.71 ERA, he’s also a valuable resource for the younger pitchers on the staff. Petit will earn $5.5 million next season.

Oct. 31: Diekman’s club option declined
Jake Diekman’s short time with the A’s appears to be coming to an end. The A’s could still look to re-sign him at a lower price than his $5.75 million option, but that’s unlikely given the premium often placed on free-agent relievers. Diekman was brought in via trade from the Royals on July 27 in an effort to solidify the A’s bullpen, but the lefty struggled with command as he issued 16 walks over 20 1/3 innings after arriving in Oakland. The only other left-handed relief option currently on the A’s roster is Ryan Buchter, who becomes eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.