4 free-agent sluggers Oakland could go after

November 23rd, 2022

This story was excerpted from Martín Gallegos' Athletics Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Coming off their first 100-loss season in more than four decades, the rebuilding A’s found a silver lining in their farm system, which saw an encouraging development of several top prospects, including a few who contributed in the big leagues toward the end of the year.

Continued improvement of promising young players such as Shea Langeliers, Jordan Diaz and Nick Allen will be vital for the A’s to take a step forward in 2023. But this can’t be their sole reliance to fix an offense that ranked last in the Majors in most categories in '22.

During a conference call with reporters last week, A’s general manager David Forst indicated that the club is well into conversations both on the trade and free-agent fronts in search of adding players who can boost the club's roster.

“We know that we need to do better on the field in Oakland,” Forst said. “We’re trying to narrow down our options and hope as we get through [Thanksgiving] and get to the Winter Meetings that we’re able to start making some moves.”

Given the low payroll flexibility, it’s obvious the A’s won’t be involved in bidding wars for the likes of Aaron Judge or Trea Turner.

The way to get better is for Oakland’s front office to do what it has done best in past years: scour the market for under-the-radar players coming off a down year who are looking to rebuild their value.

Here’s a look at some free agents who fit that description:

OF Joey Gallo
Age: 29
The A’s are well aware of the player Gallo can be, having regularly played against the slugger at his best during his time with the Rangers from 2015-21. While making $10.2 million in '22, Gallo was hopeful that a midseason trade from the Yankees to the Dodgers could get him going again. But the struggles from his time in New York continued in Los Angeles, as he finished the season with a .160 average, a .638 OPS and 19 home runs. A two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, Gallo is the type of left-handed power bat who could look at Oakland as a place to bounce back.

OF/1B Dominic Smith
Age: 27
Selected with the No. 11 overall pick by the Mets in the 2013 MLB Draft, Smith appeared to be a budding star after a breakout '20 season that earned him a 13th-place finish for the National League MVP Award. However, struggles over the past two seasons led to the Mets non-tendering him last week, leaving the California native free to sign with any team. His left-handed bat could make sense for an A’s team short on lefties.

OF/1B Wil Myers
Age: 31
Coming off a down year in which he struggled to stay healthy, Myers is the type of veteran who could settle on a one-year deal to rebuild his value. An All-Star in 2016, Myers is a right-handed power hitter who has shown good versatility by handling the outfield and first base well.

INF Edwin Ríos
Age: 28
Ríos looked like a promising future piece for the Dodgers after posting a 1.010 OPS as a rookie in 2019. In the following years, however, injuries limited his opportunities and led to him getting non-tendered by Los Angeles last week. With 104 home runs in 498 career Minor League games, Ríos is an intriguing right-handed power hitter who could be of great value for an A’s team that still does not have a permanent solution at the corner-infield spots.