Oakland A’s: Three realistic free agents to keep

Aug 10, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Josh Harrison (1) scores in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 10, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Josh Harrison (1) scores in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland A's pitcher Andrew Chafin
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oakland A’s will enter the 2021-22 offseason in a similar fashion to last year. They are slated to have 11 free agents, with the potential of a total of 13 players on the market should team options be declined. It will be another offseason where the A’s attempt to remake their roster.

Clearly, there is one free agent that any A’s fan would love to see the team retain. Starling Marte has been exactly what the lineup needed, a catalyst atop the batting order whose speed has been able to transform games. With Ramon Laureano lost for the beginning part of the 2022 season as he finishes his PED suspension, Marte would be even more vital.

Three impending free agents for Oakland A’s to keep beyond 2021

However, Marte is likely to command a contract that is far more than the A’s can afford. That is the reality of their situation; while he may be a perfect fit, it comes down to the almighty dollar. That does not mean that the A’s will not bring back other impending free agents, especially as there are several who would fit within their budget.

Let’s take a look at three impending free agents that the Oakland A’s could realistically bring back.

Andrew Chafin

Technically, Andrew Chafin may not be a free agent. He and the Oakland A’s have a mutual option for $5.25 million for the 2022 season, but it seems unlikely that the team would spend that much to bring him back.

However, the A’s are likely to have a desperate need for a left handed reliever. Jake Diekman also has a team option for 2022, and it is not certain that Oakland would spend $4 million to bring him back. A.J. Puk is the only left handed reliever that is likely to be with the team next year, but that depends on his health.

Chafin, meanwhile, has been exactly what the A’s had hoped for. He has produced a solid 1.59 ERA and a 0.882 WHiP in his 11.1 innings in Oakland, striking out ten batters with two walks. He has also become a bit of a fan favorite, offering to exchange tickets and beer for a boat to live on and losing a tooth during a game.

He also is not likely to cost much in free agency. That $5.25 million option may be more than the A’s want to spend, but Chafin might be coaxed into a return for a contract similar to the two year, $7.5 million that Diekman was given prior to the 2020 campaign.

The Oakland A’s will need a dependable left handed reliever in the 2022 campaign. Andrew Chafin would be a perfect fit with a reasonable cost.

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