The Oakland Athletics are apparently entering a retooling phase.
A’s are willing to listen to trade inquiries on their veterans, including pitching stars Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea. Should be huge interest.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 9, 2021
A lot of their players in 2021 are now free agents, too, so tough times are ahead for the Athletics.
They still have to field a competitive roster, so these free agents make sense for them.
3. Chris Archer
The A’s are unlikely to contend, as their 2022 roster will probably be worse than what they had in 2021.
Everything points out at some cost-cutting decisions.
The Bob Melvin defection is an awful sign for what may be coming for the Oakland Athletics, who are expected to reduce payroll.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 29, 2021
That means shopping for potential bargains at the free agent market.
Chris Archer, at this point of his career, seems like a low-risk, high-reward type of signing that fits with that the A’s are trying to do.
Archer won’t cost much, probably won’t require more than a one-year commitment, and, when right and healthy, has some serious swing-and-miss stuff.
Injuries and ineffectiveness have derailed what looked like a successful career a few years ago, but perhaps the A’s, known for working wonders with pitchers, can get something out of him.
He had a 4.66 ERA with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, in 19.1 innings.
A hip injury ended his season, but nothing has suggested he won’t be ready for spring training.
In his best years, Archer was a 3.20-3.30 ERA pitcher with more strikeouts than innings.
Now, a best-case scenario would probably be a high-3.00s-low-4.00s ERA, but that would be huge for Oakland.
2. Freddy Galvis
That, in addition to Elvis Andrus’ continued struggles at the plate (he hit .243/.294/.320 in 2021), creates a need in the infield.
Freddy Galvis, a natural shortstop (and a very good one with the glove), could be an upgrade over Andrus or slide over to second base to fill in there.
If he plays second, Tony Kemp would go to the outfield.
Galvis isn’t a Silver Slugger: the numbers, at .242/.302/.407, say he is a little below-average offensively.
However, he does have some pop, as he hit 14 homers in 2021 and his career-high is 23.
His presence could improve the offense if it means Andrus plays less, while keeping a good glove at shortstop.
1. Odubel Herrera
A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano is suspended for a portion of the 2022 season after using performance-enhancing drugs in 2021.
Since the team also lost key cog Mark Canha to free agency, outfield is also a problem area when it comes to depth.
Again, they need to shoot for some floor with a bit of upside.
Odubel Herrera has a checkered past, but played semi-regularly for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021.
He hit .260/.310/.416 with 13 home runs and six stolen bases, and has room for more, as his career-high in dingers is 22 and it reaches 25 in thefts.
At 29, he remains young and, theoretically, in his prime.
He is no Canha, Marte, or even Taylor, but Herrera won’t be expensive and could offer decent production for the cost.