Oakland Athletics’ Top Free Agent Targets for 2016

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Jul 25, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) bats during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers defeated the Athletics 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of free agents on the market heading into this off-season, and the Oakland Athletics are sure to inquire about many of them. It will be interesting to see if new General Manager David Forst wields any power of his own underneath Billy Beane, or if management of the team remains the same as it has since Beane’s tenure with the A’s began. Either way, the Athletics need help across the board if they want to become a contender again next year. With that in mind, the Swingin’ A’s staff took a look at available free agents and the team’s current needs, and each writer explained who they would try to sign if they were GM:

If you could pick one (realistic) free agent for the A’s to sign this off-season, who would it be and why?

After the bullpen posted a collective 4.63 ERA in 2015, allowing 74 home runs and 177 walks in just 509 innings, relief pitching is probably the biggest need heading into 2015. The A’s will likely bring back Sean Doolittle and Drew Pomeranz, but after that, the remaining spots are up in the air.

The offense is another area of need, especially in left field and the middle of the infield. The A’s consistently played below replacement-level in left field, and it doesn’t seem like Coco Crisp has the stamina needed to reclaim the job. Eric Sogard is a great role player, but having him as an everyday infielder is certainly not the best the team can do, given the caliber of today’s second basemen.

There’s also no such thing as too much starting pitching. Although the Athletics have plenty of starters lined up to compete for a rotation spot this spring, the rash of injuries at the end of 2015 just goes to show that depth is always a valuable asset. With nearly all of the team’s top pitchers returning from some kind of injury, there’s no guarantee that everyone will be fully healthy in time for Spring Training.

And now, without further adieu, here’s what the staff had to say:

Next: Free Agent Targets: Relief Pitching