A's lay groundwork for deals at Winter Meetings

Oakland signs Herrmann, but stays under the radar otherwise in Las Vegas

December 13th, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- The A's left the Winter Meetings with little to show for their four-day stay, a familiar theme around Major League Baseball.

They return to the Bay Area with a left-handed-hitting catcher in Chris Herrmann and a to-do list with several critical boxes still to be checked. Starting pitchers, a second baseman and another catcher are all necessities as they seek to build on a 97-win campaign.

That's not to say their time in Las Vegas went for naught. More than anything, it helped to foster the groundwork for moves to come and better educated them on an ever-changing market.

"That's sort of what everybody waits for: for the market to develop and guys to come off the board. So I think it'll free things up in a lot of conversations," A's general manager David Forst said.

Biggest remaining needs

1. Starting pitching: The A's rotation remains their weakest link, and it could be some time before it's bolstered. A slew of free-agent starters are still up for grabs, and the A's appear willing to wait out the market before closing in on a few affordable options.

Among those available: Matt Harvey, , , , , , and .

"We'll probably be in wait-and-see mode for a little while," Forst said.

2. Second base: The A's have not ruled out re-signing , though it's looking unlikely. There are several other options available, however, and the A's are open to finding Lowrie's replacement through free agency (DJ LeMahieu and are out there, among others) or via trade -- hello, .

It's important to note that this does appear to be a priority for the club, lessening the chances of an everyday opportunity for young infielder .

3. Catching: Even after acquiring Herrmann, the A's will keep tabs on the catching market. Free agent , a valuable asset for them in 2018, remains available, but could ultimately be out of their price range. The A's are also open to beginning the season with a platoon of Herrmann and Josh Phegley.

Rule 5 Draft

The A's lost former first-rounder Richie Martin to Baltimore in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft and passed on adding anyone to their 40-man roster. In the Minor League phase, they added a trio of players to their system: outfielder Mark Payton (Yankees) and infielders (Orioles) and Anthony Miller (Indians).

GM's bottom line

"Hopefully, when we get home, we'll be able to kind of start moving on some stuff." -- Forst