This is not going to be a normal sell-off for the Oakland A’s.
In previous times when the front office needed to sell their players due to payroll constraints, they were able to proceed methodically. They had the time needed during the offseason to gather offers, counter, and find what they felt were the best deals moving forward.
Oakland A’s will need to make moves quickly
That will not be the case this offseason. A lockout is likely coming once the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on December 1. Once that happens, teams will no longer be able to make changes on their roster, which includes free agent signings, trades, and releasing players.
There is also no telling how long this hypothetical lockout will last. Predictions have any such labor stoppage ending sometime around the beginning of February, as neither the league nor the players want the season, or spring training, interrupted by an impasse in negotiations.
This will leave a very small window for players to sign and teams to make trades. That is certainly on the minds of several free agents, hence the surprising flurry of activity this early in free agency. Chances are, more signings will come in the next few days.
For the ownership of the Oakland A’s, a roster freeze that extends until close to spring training would be the worst possible scenario. They may not be able to trade everyone they want, leaving players on the roster that they would have preferred to trade to dump their salaries.
Some deals may happen. The A’s may still be able to move several pieces from the roster, especially as teams can never have enough pitching. Matt Olson is going to remain a hot commodity, and Matt Chapman should have a market. Even Sean Murphy could find himself traded. But those trades, if they do happen, will come quickly as teams want to have their rosters mostly settled heading into spring training.
The clock is ticking for the Oakland A’s to be able to make moves. If they do not make a trade in the next few days, they may not be able to.