Oakland Athletics Need These Five Free Agents in 2016

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Aug 10, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Ben Zobrist (18) gets a base hit against the Detroit Tigers during the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Zobrist, Utility Man
Age: 34

It’s probably not necessary to recap Ben Zobrist’s season, since he spent much of it with the Athletics’. As a reminder, he’s batting .270/.355/.457 this season, and he has nine home runs in just 80 games, after missing some time with a knee injury.

Zobrist is only making $7.5 million this season, but he is going to get paid extraordinary amounts, given that the Royals were willing to give up one of their top pitching prospect for just three months of his assistance. He’ll also probably be worth a competitive balance pick, so there really isn’t much point to wasting any more words on him, because the Oakland Athletics don’t seek out top talent.

That leaves us with….

The Lite Version
Mike Aviles, Utility Man
Age: 34

Mike Aviles is not having a very good year, batting just .218/.274/.301, with four home runs and a pair of stolen bases. But there are extenuating circumstances. One of his twin four-year-old daughters is battling leukemia, which has greatly affected both the amount of games he’s been present for, and the quality of his play. The Indians even went so far as to refuse trade offers for the highly praised utility man, so that he could continue to play near the hospital where Adriana is being treated.

That doesn’t mean Aviles can’t be a valuable member of the team next season. He’s a more-versatile version of Eric Sogard, as he can play any defensive position except first base and catcher. He has a career average of .265/.297/.386, which isn’t an impressive line until it is compared to other equally versatile fielders. He has the potential to hit some home runs, although not typically into double-digits. Similarly, he’s had four seasons in which he’s swiped 14 bases, including last year, but he’s also had several single-digit seasons.

Aviles won’t blow anyone away, but he’s inexpensive and he is a valuable defensive asset.

Until the Oakland Athletics’ front office decides they’re ready to spend some money, second-tier players are the most likely options for the Athletics.

Next: Are the A's Overworking Sonny Gray?

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