In honor of the MLB Winter Meetings that recently occurred I have decided to do a series of posts dedicated to possible trade partners and signees the A’s could be in touch with throughout not just this week but the entire offseason (Link to post 1, 2). The A’s have the biggest hole in their lineup at shortstop, but could also fill holes at second and third base, the bench, and every team can never have too much bullpen depth. There are plenty of teams in need of starting pitching and outfielders which the Green and Gold have plenty of so GM Billy Beane can be aggressive if needs to be and trade from the depth. They also have a small chunk of money they can use to sign a mid level free agent. There are a couple of things to remember however.
One is the A’s recently drafted a shortstop (though they may move him to third base) in Addison Russell. While he is still a few years away from possibly making it to the big leagues it may not make too much sense to invest in a young shortstop that may cost extra because of their age. The opposite hand to that is sometimes prospects never match up to their expectations. That is a balancing act that Beane will have to deal with.
The second is the A’s have internal options at all of their positions except shortstop. Therefore it would seem Beane’s main concern this week and for the rest of the offseason will be to find a shortstop. There aren’t many free agent shortstops on the market this year therefore the most likely scenario to fill the need at the six position is via trade. There are however two available shortstops who have the potential to make an impact. The one I am going to look at in this post is very familiar to the Green and Gold as he finished the season with them.Stephen Drew came over to Oakland in a late season trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The A’s sent over infield prospect Sean Jamieson. Drew was finally seeing time after missing over a season with a gruesome ankle injury. He’s a career .268avg hitter and has a career .328OBP. More than that though, he was a clear upgrade at the weakest position on the A’s roster. Cliff Pennington was above average defensively but his offense never amounted up to much of anything.
It has been reported that Drew is looking for a multi-year deal with a base salary in the $8-$12 million range. His agent is Scott Boras who is notorious for being a great agent and tough negotiator. The A’s have been in touch with Boras multiple times in the last week including in Nashville at the Winter Meetings. It remains to be seen what other teams are seriously in on Drew which makes it less clear on the A’s chances to resign him.
Drew is a quality shortstop which the A’s are in desperate need of. He is not looking for a long term deal, rather a multi-year deal in the two to three year range. This makes him ideal for the A’s as they have Addison Russell in the pipeline whom is still a couple years away. Oakland looks primed to compete again next year and Drew could prove to be a huge part of the next couple of seasons if he resigns.