Pitching depth permeates A's shopping list
Club looking to beef up rotation at Winter Meetings
OAKLAND -- Rare is it that the A's stay quiet at the Winter Meetings, what with ongoing roster reconstruction headed by a tireless front office that seemingly never stops no matter the time of year.
Though this offseason won't bring about the kind of surprising moves that headlined last winter -- including trades that sent Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija and Derek Norris away -- it's not lacking intrigue, as the A's attempt to beef up a roster that finished with the worst record (68-94) in the American League.
Members of the front office will spend much of their time at next week's Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., scouring the market for arms, talking with agents and general managers. They will be on the hunt for relievers, and perhaps another starter to accompany Sonny Gray, Rich Hill and a bevy of promising youngsters, namely Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman.
All the while, they will field offers for any number of their own players, having already shown early this winter they won't be shy in parting ways with valuable players -- including Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz -- to land the pieces they deem vital to fielding a competitive team.
MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2015 Winter Meetings from the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, with the Network launching 35 hours of live Winter Meetings coverage on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT. Fans can also catch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 8 a.m. PT and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 7 a.m. PT.
Rotation: The A's learned last season just how precious pitching depth is, theirs decimated for much of the second half. And though they ostensibly have plenty of it already, with Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin, Aaron Brooks and Felix Doubront acting as strong backend options behind the aforementioned starters, the A's could seek out another veteran arm like Hill as further insurance.
Who they can trade if necessary
Brett Lawrie: Lawrie became expendable the second Jed Lowrie was brought back to Oakland. His age -- he'll be just 26 in January -- is appealing, as is the fact he enjoyed his first full healthy season this year. Lawrie is also extremely athletic and versatile in the field, and the A's can make use of all of these selling points when bargaining with interested clubs next week.
Danny Valencia: Though Lawrie is seen as the more likely trade candidate, Valencia remains a potential trade chip. However, the A's plan to keep at least one of them, and Valencia proved to be more valuable at the plate upon his arrival in August.
Per MLB.com, the A's Top 10 prospects are shortstop Franklin Barreto, first baseman Matt Olson, left-hander Sean Manaea, shortstop Richie Martin, third baseman Matt Chapman, corner infielder Renato Nunez, shortstop Chad Pinder, catcher Jacob Nottingham, right-hander Dakota Chalmers and left-hander Dillon Overton.
Consider all off limits, as the A's regroup at the Minor League level in hopes of producing winning teams with homegrown talent in the coming years.
Rule 5 Draft
The A's 40-man roster is at 39 players, freeing them up to make a Rule 5 Draft pick if they desire. Last year, the club didn't make a selection, instead trading for one, swinging a deal with Colorado to acquire Mark Canha immediately after the Rockies picked up the former Marlins prospect.
Big contracts they might unload
The only large contracts on the books -- Billy Butler, owed $20 million over the next two seasons, and Coco Crisp, who is guaranteed $11 million -- are essentially untradeable. Butler comes with limited value and a high cost, while the oft-injured Crisp, making even more money in 2016, has struggled to stay on the field.