With the offseason upon us, the MLB rumors start to flow freely – even for small market teams like the Oakland A’s. Even though these first few weeks of the offseason have not been particularly busy for the Athletics, the rumors still exist since there are still many deals to be made.
The first major rumor that has been big news lately is that the St. Louis Cardinals have their eye on A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie. However, this rumor was laid to rest earlier this morning when Bob Melvin went on 95.7 The Game and stated blatantly that they were not looking to give up Lowrie. Assistant GM David Frost also stated that Lowrie is their A’s starting shortstop and they are not looking to replace him.
If they are keeping Lowrie at shortstop, then they will hopefully put newly acquired infielder Nick Punto at second. This would bump out Eric Sogard, who did not perform well this past season. But with Punto’s position versatility in the infield, he really be put anywhere. Time will only tell if the Athletics will trade Sogard or keep him as backup.
Next is the bullpen. Billy Beane spoke with MLB.com explaining the need to build a quality backup bullpen. So whose name has been rumored to help with this effort? Unfortunately there are no names to be reported.
Beane also expressed a need for a right handed outfielder after declining to pick up Chris Young’s option. The A’s are looking at Nelson Cruz who would fit this criteria perfectly. Cruz has actually been with the Athletics before from 2000 – 2004, but it is clear that he is a much hotter commodity now. Besides the Athletics, the Seattle Mariners, the New York Mets, and the Philadelphia Phillies are all vying for Cruz. The race could get get a little pricey for the Oakland A’s but he would be a good fit for the team and fill a much needed void.
Lastly, there has been some talk about Tim Hudson coming back to Oakland. Even though it would be great to have one of the “Big Three” back in the bullpen, the Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, and Tampa Bay Rays are all seriously considering Hudson. These larger teams could definitely offer him more money than the Athletics.
The Oakland A’s are known for keeping their discussions, negotiations, and offers very secretive. Their decisions are always highly calculated and take time. The Athletics may be slow in their decisions, but they always make trades and acquisitions that are best for the team and best for the club financially.