Billy Beane has had quite the week, hasn’t he? The A’s formally introduced new DH Hideki Matsui this week, and have signed pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Rich Harden. Oh yeah, and the A’s just acquired OF Josh Willingham in a trade with the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor leaguers RHP Henry Rodriguez and OF Corey Brown.
Willingham, 31, hit .268 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs in 114 games last season with the Nationals. He finished the season on the 60-day DL list, but is expected to be healthy, however, in time for spring training. Willingham brings power, and depth to an oft-injured A’s team.
But the A’s have certainly remained aggressive this offseason, and Billy Beane’s newly upgraded offense is starting to take shape. Expect the A’s to begin the season with an outfield consisting of Willingham in left, David DeJesus in right, and Coco Crisp in center. Remember, the A’s have Ryan Sweeney and Connor Jackson in fold as well, as both players could come off the bench for Oakland.
Given the team’s recent injury history during the past four or five seasons, Beane and the rest of the A’s front office seem committed to adding depth to the team in preparation for next season. The A’s, who remained in the division race until the last month or so, finished with an 81-81 record and are poised to make a serious run this year especially given the team’s newly acquired power and depth.
The team could still use, however, another bat just to be on the safe side. The A’s are a team that hit just 109 home runs last season which ranked 28th in baseball, and adding another reliable bat couldn’t hurt. The A’s are still figured to have some financial flexibility given that they shed the contracts of Eric Chavez and Ben Sheets this offseason.
3B Adrian Beltre, who snubbed the A’s once again this winter, is said to still be ‘open’ to the idea of playing for the A’s. The fact that the A’s withdrew their five-year offer worth a reported $64 million, however, could indicate that the A’s have moved on from Beltre. But if the A’s were somehow able to land Beltre, the team would instantly be considered as a strong playoff contender, especially in a very wide open American League West.