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After early splash, A's may stand pat at Deadline

ARLINGTON -- The A's celebrated the Trade Deadline rather early this season, making their big move on the Fourth of July with the acquisition of Cubs hurlers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

General manager Billy Beane made it clear at that point that, though there was nothing imminent, his pre-Deadline work wasn't over -- and it still isn't.

The A's have been eyeing second-base help amid inconsistent performance at the position. Though there's depth there, it remains weak, particularly in terms of offensive production.

Eric Sogard has always been considered an excellent defender, and his sure-handed glove has often been the only reason the A's have kept him in the lineup. Veteran Nick Punto provides the same, along with good at-bats. But he doesn't sport a high average, either, and Alberto Callaspo has been streaky along the way.

Still, manager Bob Melvin insists he likes the team he has now, which is why he's not putting much focus on the looming Deadline.

"I'm a guy that doesn't focus too much on that," Melvin said. "I know our guys are turning over every stone they possibly can to try to improve the team. Really, I'm involved when things potentially get close. They look at so many different things to try to improve the team that I don't get 100-percent involved, and I do like the team we have.

"We've made a big trade, and it's made us better, and I'm fine with that. If they continue to look to maybe do something, that's fine, but I like the team we have."

It's hard to nitpick baseball's best team, but second base has long been viewed as an area of need, following Jemile Weeks' sudden fall in 2012, so it makes sense that it remains a target.

But do the A's have enough goods to make it happen? Outside of starting pitching, they've got little to offer in the lower rankings of the Minors after giving away top prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney to the Cubs, and what they do have to offer might not equate to a second baseman that's a step up from what they already have.

Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist is a potential fit, as is the Mets' Daniel Murphy, but the Rays don't have to sell, and New York is likely to be asking a pretty penny for their infielder, making either one a tough buy. Then there's Nick Franklin, but he already resides in the American League West, and the Mariners would understandably have reservations about giving him away to a fellow division contender.

The Phillies' Chase Utley could be had, but not by the A's, it seems. Not only does he have a no-trade clause in his contract, but he's owed $15 million next season as part of a deal that contains options for $15 million in each of three additional years.

The A's could very well stand pat, then, a scenario Melvin is on board with.

"Each guy we have there does something a little bit differently," he said, "and I think they all bring attributes to the table that enhances our chances to win. I like all three of those guys."

Jane Lee is a reporter for

Oakland Athletics