A’s quiet but not idle at 2016 MLB Winter Meetings

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Dec 7, 2016; National Harbor, MD, USA; A general view of stage microphones on day three of the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2016; National Harbor, MD, USA; A general view of stage microphones on day three of the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Athletics were quite possibly the quietest team at Major League Baseball’s Annual Winter Meetings this week.

The Winter Meetings are a time where general managers and executives gather every year in December to swap players and bid on free agents.

While the A’s have participated in the madness that is baseball’s Winter Meetings in past years, this year they had a different plan in mind. They were mostly just ready to listen.

If proposed an offer they couldn’t refuse for one of the team’s potentially available players, the A’s may have made a bit more noise.

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  • There were rumors aplenty, of course.  There was the possibility of trading two-time All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt and whispers that the A’s ace, right-hander Sonny Gray, might also be on the trading block.

    Other names thrown around were infielder Jed Lowrie and the team’s three prime relievers Ryan Madson, John Axford and Sean Doolittle.

    For any of those players to be traded now, the deal would have to be undeniably good. Otherwise the A’s may wait until the non-waiver trade deadline this summer to make some moves.

    One thing is certain, however, and that is a trade will be made prior to the start of the season.

    While the A’s would like to add a veteran starting pitcher to their young staff as well as some infield help, what the team is really in search of is a centerfielder. They have made it that known, that is no rumor.

    With no viable in-house options (besides Brett Eibner and Jake Smolinski) and a lacking free-agent class it, a trade will likely be the only way to fill that hole.

    Throughout the meetings the A’s were linked to just a single player, Jarrod Dyson, an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals.Yet that link, while it still may happen that the two teams strike a deal, was a very loose one at least during the past week.

    The Colorado Rockies have a surplus of outfielders, so a trade with them is also an option but it is still just speculation at this point.

    In the end, the only slightly eventful moment for the ballclub was losing 24-year-old pitcher Dylan Covey to the most active team at the 2016 Winter Meetings, the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft.The A’s did not make a Rule 5 pick as they did not have any extra room on their roster.

    Frankie Montas, Winter meetings
    Frankie Montas. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

    Losing Covey shouldn’t make a difference for Oakland. Even though Covey has a five-pitch arsenal and had some great outings in the Arizona Fall League (a combined no-hitter and a good performance in the AFL Championship), he lacks a real track record.

    His overall Arizona Fall League numbers were rather pedestrian with his overall 4.25 ERA. He’s suffered from injuries, he’s never pitcher higher than Double-A level ball and he’ll be 25 years old going into the 2017 season.

    If the A’s had lost Frankie Montas, who was acquired in the trade that sent Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, in the Rule 5 Draft that would have been a different story.

    “I think we’re listening more than anything. We have a strong foundation here… centered around our starting pitching…there’s a good base in our bullpen, and ultimately the position players are hopefully going to grow with that group.” – A’s GM David Forst

    So after arriving at the meetings late, on Monday night when the event began on Sunday, the A’s nonchalantly listened to offers and weighed their options.

    Their biggest media moment came when the New York Yankees signed Matt Holliday to a one-year deal and his no-trade clause was reportedly just for one team: Oakland (it ended up being the entire west coast but the first reports were all about the A’s).

    The A’s showed patience at the Winter Meetings and were quietly contemplating their next move, as they lie in wait for their coveted prospects to be ready for the show.

    They didn’t need to make a big splash this year but they weren’t sitting idly by either.

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