Oakland Athletics’ Top Free Agent Targets for 2016

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Aug 27, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Paloma: The A’s, if they stay healthy, are pretty set especially contractually with all their position players. The outfield is set with Cahna, Burns, and Reddick with Coco as a back up and the infield with a rotation of Davis/Vogt/Cahna at first (Phegley and Vogt rotating plate duties as well) and Lawrie, Semien, and Valencia with Sogard as a back-up there. Butler, despite his poor 2015 stats, is also signed as a DH and can provide vet leadership.

Pitching, especially the bullpen, is where any off-season money should go. With 25 blown saves and a save percentage in just over half their appearances (52.8 %), as well as 35 losses in one-run games, to be able to compete for 2016, several names are out there.

As stated last week, Matt Albers of the White Sox is currently riding a 22 1/3 inning scoreless streak and had a 1.21 ERA. He’s available and would be good for a pen that couldn’t hold a lead even if it had a handle.

Orioles reliever and All-Star Darren O’Day is also available and would be an excellent fit with his ability to fill in as a closer, but his 1.52 ERA and 82Ks in 65 innings could come at a hefty price.

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Steven Luke: There are a lot of free agents in the offseason that could end up affordable enough for the Oakland Athletics and they will have a lot of need. They have a large need for left handed hitting and right handed relief pitching but the one player I think they should focus on is neither, right handed corner infielder Mark Reynolds.

It may not seem to make a ton of sense because of all the right handed bats the A’s have right now, but Reynolds fits a lot of needs.

He is versatile with the ability to play the corner infield positions and versatility is something the A’s have valued since Bob Melvin took over as manager. He has plenty of power and has experience using it off of the bench or in a part-time position. What he has that the team is going to need most as they go on, though, is leadership. The A’s are getting younger and younger each year and although they have players like Billy Butler and Josh Reddick who have been around the block, but neither have been around like Reynolds has. He’s been the team leader, he’s been the guy that gets designated for assignment, and he’s been a bench player – and that experience will be valuable for the younger players to learn from because many of them will have to go through the same thing some day.

There may be bigger needs, but the history of this front office shows they will fill those needs through trades. Reynolds fills needs that aren’t obvious and fills them for cheap.

Next: Free Agent Targets: The Closer