With Oakland 8.5 games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West, I thought it would be nice to change the subject and take a quick look at what lies ahead next year for the A’s. Next season, the A’s will be without Ben Sheets ($10 million in ’10), Eric Chavez ($12.5 million in ’10) and possibly even Coco Crisp ($5.5 million option for ’11) and Mark Ellis ($6 million option for ’11). But, for the sake of this particular article, let’s just say that the A’s will have a little over $20 million to play with next offseason. Yes, that’s $20 million, folks.
Just imagine what the A’s could do with that extra $20 million. A’s GM/VP Billy Beane, and the rest of the A’s front office will likely steer clear of any free agent pitchers, and will probably set their sights on a highly-coveted slugger. Next season, Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford could hit the free market, and could become potential targets for Beane & Co. Whether or not Beane will go after either player is still a mystery, but why shouldn’t he?
Pena, who played for Oakland back in 2002, said he wouldn’t rule out a possible return to the green-and-gold next season. This season for Tampa Bay, Pena is hitting a meager .213/.342/.441. However, on the plus side, he has collected 25 home runs and 73 RBIs. While the average is definitely nothing to brag about, the fact of the matter is thats he’s still a relatively strong power hitter. And at 32, he’s still young enough to make a difference on a punchless Oakland lineup.
Crawford, however, would be a tough player to acquire. I’m sure many teams out there would love to have a Carl Crawford on their team. But with $20 million to play with, Oakland could make a serious run at Crawford—if he reaches the free agent market. This season, Crawford is hitting .296/.348/.475 with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs. He’s also got 41 stolen bases, which is what makes Crawford such a talented player. He’s a great hitter, and he’s got some talent running the bases.
Right now, however, the A’s are trying to fight their way back and make the playoffs for the first time since 2006.