Mapping out the A’s offseason: what gaps can they fill in free agency?

The World Series is over. The 2019 baseball season is finito. The Oakland A’s division rivals fell to the Nationals in seven tense games, and it’s possible the American League West’s landscape could shift ever-so-slightly open in 2020.

After picking up right-hander Yusmeiro Petit’s $5.5 million option and declining Jake Diekman’s $5.75 million option, the A’s have five total players on the books, amounting to a total of $42 million committed for 2020.

The A’s payroll on 2019’s opening day added up to $92,178,833, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, good for 25th in the MLB. The A’s have 12 arbitration eligible players, most should be tendered contract with a handful, like Blake Treinen and Jurickson Profar, on the bubble.

The reality is, most of the A’s roster is pretty much set. The position players returning to their posts on the diamond and a young rotation coming to fruition. So, what will the A’s offseason look like? Here’s a closer look at what they might do.

Left handed relievers…or more relievers in general

Diekman’s departure opens up a wider need for left-handedness in the bullpen. If the A’s do not tender RHP Treinen or LHP Ryan Bucther a contract (only a possibility), the remaining relief arms set to return are: RHP Petit, RHP Soria, RHP Liam Hendriks (arbitration, RHP Chris Bassitt (arbitration) and RHP Lou Trivino.

Not a left-hander on the horizon. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk filled those roles upon their call-ups late in the 2019 season, but they should be essential pieces in the 2020 rotation.

The A’s have a lot of pitching depth within their system that project as starters: James Kaprelian, Grant Holmes, Daulton Jefferies. Jharel Cotton (if tendered a contract) and Bassitt could move easily into the bullpen, providing the building blocks for a potential piggy-back style pitching strategy for the season.

The A’s should add more pitching depth in free agency.

Homer Bailey, Brett Anderson and Tanner Roark will be free agents. Anderson would be a solid addition to the pitching staff if he accepted a bullpen role, piggybacking or just out of long relief. The left-hander had perhaps one of the best seasons of his career, accumulating a 3.89 ERA in 31 games (176 innings).

In free agency, left-hander Drew Pomeranz could be an option to sign a short term deal. The 30-year-old is coming off a decent season with the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers. With the Brewers he tallied a 2.39 ERA in 26 innings. Pomeranz is a starter by trade, but came out of the bullpen, which adds to his appeal as a positionally flexible option.

A Pomeranz-like pitcher — one that can pitch multiple innings, perhaps out of the bullpen — might be the type of player the A’s search for this offseason, via free agency or a wacky trade we cannot predict.

Second base

With Profar likely on the move after an up-and-down season, second base could be a place for the A’s to find some upgrades out of house.

Then again, the in-house options are plentiful and promising. Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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