SAN DIEGO -- In what evolved into a free-agency frenzy at the Winter Meetings, with high-priced contracts handed out every day, the A's remained relatively quiet. But that doesn't mean they were unproductive.
With most of the attendees jammed into a ballroom inside the Manchester Grand Hyatt with their bags packed and ready to head home, Oakland's front office made sure not to come home empty-handed. It pulled off a trade in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft for Vimael Machin, a versatile infielder who fills a need for a left-handed bat.
Other discussions on potential trades and free-agent moves were accelerated over the past four days. A's general manager David Forst left town feeling optimistic that more moves will come in the near future.
"There are some things that can happen if conversations get wrapped up," Forst said. "There are some real conversations going on right now."
**Biggest remaining needs
- Bullpen:** The A's set out a plan this winter to improve a relief corps that led the Majors with 32 blown saves last season. While they've brought back some of their successful pieces from 2019, including Yusmeiro Petit and Jake Diekman, no outside additions have been made. The A's are one of a few teams said to be interested in veteran right-hander Sergio Romo. Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane also mentioned this week that the trade market for a reliever is just as good as the free-agent market and would be explored by the club.
2) Second base: The A's have a few internal options who could compete in Spring Training for the starting second base job in Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse. But adding a second baseman from the outside is still on the radar, an option Beane suggested would be more likely to come via trade.
3) Left-handed bat: The A's are still extremely right-handed heavy on offense, even with the addition of Machin. Whether it be an outfielder or infielder, look for the A's to keep an eye on available left-handed bats in the coming weeks.
Rule 5 Draft
The A's added Machin in a deal with the Phillies, who selected him from the Cubs in the Major League phase, and outfielder Jason Krizan (Mets), catcher Jose Colina (Indians) and right-hander Deivy Mendez (Padres) in the Triple-A phase. Mark Payton, who slugged 30 home runs for Triple-A Las Vegas last season, was lost in the Major League phase after he was selected by the Reds.
GM's bottom line
"I think we have some conversations that hopefully will lead to something in the next few weeks or the next month. I think there are some things we talked about here that hopefully turn into something." -- Forst