The A’s, having missed out on 3B Adrian Beltre, are now shifting their focus to the players who are arbitration-eligible. According to the Jane Lee of MLB.com, the A’s have six players currently facing arbitration: pitchers Dallas Braden, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, outfielders Josh Willingham, Connor Jackson, and 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff. Braden, who threw Major League Baseball’s 19th perfect game this season, won 11 games this season while posting a 3.50 ERA in 192.2 innings. He’s clearly a big part of Oakland’s starting rotation, which posted an AL-best 3.56 ERA in 2010, and he’s certainly in a position to receive a big raise in arbitration.
Speaking of pitching, the A’s should head into the 2011 campaign with a very deep pitching staff. The A’s added ex-team ace Rich Harden this offseason, and he should get a chance at competing for a spot in the rotation. If Harden’s healthy, the A’s should use him in the rotation. Adding a healthy Harden, who is still young at 29, to a rotation that already includes Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden could make Oakland’s pitching staff one of the best units in baseball.
Harden’s biggest rival, however, will be Brandon McCarthy. The A’s acquired McCarthy before they added Harden, and A’s Assistant GM David Forst, has already said that the team will explore all options in regards to Harden. Harden could be used out of the bullpen, which wouldn’t be a bad idea, since the ‘pen seemed depleted near the end of the season. But, if Harden’s healthy and he can stay consistent, look for him in the rotation.
According the MLBTraderumors.com, the A’s offer to 3B Adrian Beltre was a bit more than what people had originally thought. Reportedly (Peter Gammons tweeted), the A’s offer was for 6-years/$76 million. That certainly would’ve been a huge commitment for the A’s to make, but it just goes to show how aggressive GM Billy Beane has been this offseason in addressing Oakland’s offense.
In other A’s, or semi-A’s related news, ex-3B/DH Eric Chavez is working out for the Los Angeles Dodgers this month. This is according to SF Chronicle writer, Susan Slusser. You can read more about Chavez’s latest attempt at reviving his career by clicking here. Chavez, 33, spent most of the year on the DL. Chavez is a six-time Gold Glove winner at third, and the Dodgers could benefit from a healthy Chavez.