The A's will re-sign Jack Cust to a one-year deal worth 2.65MM plus $350K in incentives based on plate appearances. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported the agreement and Jon Heyman of SI.com and Slusser added the specifics. The A's non-tendered Cust last month, and after Cust attracted some interest from teams such as the Giants, the A's brought him back.
Though he did play 51 games in the outfield last year, Cust has been consistently bad on defense in his career, according to UZR. But the A's aren't signing him for his defense. Cust, who turns 31 this month, has hit at least 25 homers each of the last three seasons for the A's. He has slugged .462 over the course of that three-year period, though his isolated power – the difference between his slugging and batting averages – dropped to .177 last year.
The A's, who added Jake Fox earlier in the offseason, seemed ready to move on without Cust when they non-tendered him. Cust made $2.8MM last year, so their new deal will keep him around for less guaranteed money than he was making in 2009 and, presumably, less than he would have made had the club offered arbitration. The A's will be able to retain Cust in 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player, since he won't have enough service time to file for free agency.