A’s To Address Power Shortage

No team has hit fewer home runs than the A’s (89), so GM Billy Beane and the rest of the team’s front office will be interested in adding power bats this offseason, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle

"It's an obvious area to address, and between now and the offseason, we'll have a number of conversations about how best to fill that need," Beane said.

Daric Barton and Jack Cust have combined for tons of walks (152), but few homers (18) from traditionally power-oriented positions, first base and DH. Both players have provided value, but the A’s could trade Barton or non-tender Cust to make room for a more powerful bat. Oakland should be able to spend on power, since the Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez deals are among the contracts coming off the books in 2011.

The A’s, one of just three MLB teams whose home run leader has not reached the 20-homer plateau, can consider free agent first basemen and DHs including Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, Manny Ramirez and (if their options aren’t picked up), David Ortiz, Adam LaRoche and Vladimir Guerrero. Many power hitting first basemen and DHs will be available as free agents, but the A's could just as easily pursue pop at a different position.

76 Responses to A’s To Address Power Shortage Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    What about Chris Carter?

    • He stunk it up in a short cup of coffee earlier this year. He’s always taken awhile to adjust to a new level, though, so ideally he’d fill up a COF position next year.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      he will be up. And if he A’s sign Carl Crawford, that would give them the combo of Ryan Howard and Carl Crawford.

      • Don’t you think it’s a little early to say Carter is going to be as good as Howard? Especially when Carter tanked big time in his first MLB stint and may never be as good as his minor league stats show. He may end up as good as those stats show but if this small sample size in the MLB is any implication for Carter then he will not only be not good but terrible. And Howard was the fastest player in MLB history to reach 250 home runs, I would seriously doubt Carter is going to have that much power especially playing 81 games every season in the A’s ballpark.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Yeah right, because 17 AB’s defines a whole career.

          Remember how Buster Posey’s 1st cup of coffee was in the bigs? 20 dollars says Chris Carter comes top 3 in rookie of the year voting next season.

          • Sniderlover 5 years ago

            Either way it’s a stretch to compare him to Howard at the moment.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I wasn’t comparing him to Howard at the moment. Just a future comp.

          • Did I ever say that it defines a whole career? And didn’t I say that he may live up to the hype even though he may not. And that bet isn’t really a big time bet considering the rookie class of next year probably won’t be anywhere near how good the rookies were this year.

  2. RahZid 5 years ago

    Ortiz would also only be available if his option isn’t picked up.

    • Piccamo 5 years ago

      I think Ben addressed that in his article.
      (if their options aren’t picked up), David Ortiz, Adam LaRoche and Vladimir Guerrero.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Homeboy wasn’t pointing out to Ben that it wasn’t there, he was just binging it up.

  3. A little unfair about Cust–the guy only has 337 PA’s this season. If he hasn’t been wrongly demoted in the beginning of the season, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to think he’d have 20 HR by now.

    • Perhaps not, but it seems like his approach is different this year. He was flirting with .300 BA for awhile there!

      • Regardless, the guy should not have been demoted.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          He really should have actually I think…He had a terrible spring trainig and really wasn’t a good hitter at all…Just a .220 AVG or something like that, with 25 home runs and 170 K’s.

          • So now a bad Spring Training should land a solid contributor in the minors? Mind you, before this season, Cust averaged 28 HR/.378 OB over three seasons with the A’s. Who else on that team came close to that?

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Again, the k’s and average. He pretty much wasted a whole season with his K’s the last 3 years. They thought he had more potential.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      Cust isn’t the run producer the A’s needed. He’s a spare part, complimentary player on most teams. He gets overexposed when in the lineup every day. The A’s need 2-3 people in the lineup that pitchers have to be extra careful with and Cust isn’t one of them. He has a place in the majors, but he’s expected to fill a role with the A’s that he doesn’t fit. They didn’t treat him fairly with the demotion and everything, but he is not someone to build around. The A’s need to either commit to him as their DH or let him go instead of yo-yo-ing him around.

      • I agree that he’s not someone to build a team around, but I don’t think anyone was making that point. Also, I’m sure a lot of teams could use a “spare part” who can post a .380 OB/20+ HR.

        • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

          My point was more that he is miscast as a run producer/big hitter in the A’s lineup. I’m not sure you can bank on him be a 20+ hr guy though. Consistent with his on base skills yes. He’s kind of the same as Barton with lower batting average and higher power. The same type of player the Yankees wanted when they signed Nick Johnson.

          And the fact that they have so many of these Cust, Jackson, Barton types is the reason whey their offense is as bad as it is. They are players that set up a team’s big hitters. The A’s don’t have the big hitter to set up.

  4. Devern Hansack 5 years ago

    What about Xavier Nady or Aubrey Huff? Both would be affordable power options.

    • blackandorangepride 5 years ago

      I think its pretty safe to say Huff will be in SF again next year he’s just waiting for an offer to sign it

  5. genxhumanist 5 years ago

    This wouldn’t have been an issue if Beane hadn’t traded Andre Ethier and Carlos Gonzalez.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      Who did the A’s get for Either and C. Gonzalez?

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Yeah you bet. Wow, imagine an outfield of Andre Either, CarGo, and Crawford…Taken in to account that if both were still A’s, they would have 86+ wins and an accrctive place to go for Carl Crawford. And if Rafael Furcal hadn’t upset the A’s withhis physical!

      • coachofall 5 years ago

        It’s easy to look in hindsight about deals. But please remember that Bradley was a key member of the A’s as they reached the post season. The trade was solid at the time becasue Beane’s goal was reached. Also keep in mind the splits that Ethier has when Manny is in the lineup and not. A’s didnt/don’t have a manny in his prime to protect him so to assume the production would have followed is short-sighted. Car Go is a stud no question, however they received arguably a top 10 player in the game in that trade. Didnt work out quite like the ownership wanted when they saw the division as winable, but they received a hell of a player (who again didnt produce as the lone run producer). I hope both Ethier and Car Go have great careers, just didnt see that happening in Oakland for either of them

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Right I understand all of that, no doubt about it, I was just saying that if the Cargo and Ethier were (who they now are) I’d be much happier A’s fan. It would also be nice if Michael Taylor had a better season.

  6. Trading Barton because of a lack of power would be dumb. You don’t find many young players with on-base skills like Daric.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      He’s a complimentary player, not someone to build a team around. I like him, but I’m not sure Oakland is a good fit for him. They need offensive production. Unfortunately, since the A’s are so lacking in offense, Barton is expected to fill a run producing role that he isn’t equiped for. Barton is exactly the type of player the Yankees wanted when they signed Nick Johnson this year. A complimentary, on base and “set the table for the big boppers behind him” kind of guy. He has a definite role in the majors, maybe just not with Oakland.

      • Daric Barton has the 11th best WAR in the AL this year, that doesnt exactly scream “complimentary” at me.

        • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

          Would you build your offense around him? Don’t get me wrong, I like Barton. But he shouldn’t be the lineup’s premier player.

          • Yes I would. There’s a very good chance he turns into Youkilis2

          • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

            There is no way he turns into Youkilis. He doesn’t have the power. Nor does he have the lineup to help him develop into the run producer Youk. is. I think the top comparison you can make is Mark Grace. Good solid player, but not someone to build a line up around.

  7. Clearly the A’s need some power, but the outfield and 3b seem like more logical areas to upgrade. Barton has incredible on base ability and could end up as a 15-20 homer guy. That seems bad but combine that with 100 walk years and you end up with an .850-.900 ops type guy on the cheap. Davis and Kouz provide basically nothing at the plate. I know he’s had a sub par start to his career, but taking a look at Andy LaRoche would be a good idea. He would be really inexpensive at this point. Let Carter, Crisp, Sweeney, Jackson and Davis cover the general outfield duties and sign someone like Manny to DH and get some time in left.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      Unfortunately, there isn’t alot of run production available in free agency from those 2 positions. Yes, Beltre is available, but he’s priced his way out of the A’s range. And I’m not confident that he’d keep that same level of production if he’s used as the main man on offense. He’s only really done well when he was counted on as a complimentary player.

      • baseballdude 5 years ago

        beltre will be a complementARY player when he signs with detroit :)

  8. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    If I’m Billy Beane, I’d wouldn’t try to swing for the fences in free agency. The top quality run producers on the market (Crawford, Konerko, Belte, Dunn, Werth, etc.) won’t want to come to Oakland. I’d see if I could sign Aramis Ramirez and let him split time at 3b and DH since he’s a bit fragile (if they don’t get Aramis, keep Kouz cause there is no one else significantly better than him as a free agent). I’d sign Wigginton to back up 3b and 2b (I’m assuming they will bring back Ellis, he’ll need a back up since he’s fragile too). Then I’d look at signing Magglio Ordonez to be the DH and keep Barton at 1b. If I can’t get Magglio, I’d look at someone like Carlos Pena/Russell Branyan to either DH or play first (depending on Barton’s defense with which I’m not familiar). Wigginton could be the right hand platoon with those 2 or you could sign a Troy Glaus to be the right handed platoon. I’d let the outfield sort itself out with the players they have (though I’d stop giving so many at bats to Sweeney).

    • HerbertAnchovy 5 years ago

      Carl Crawford actually showed interest in the A’s earlier this year, complimenting their pitching staff. I doubt he will sign, but he isn’t completly ruling them out either.

    • Aramis Ramirez’s career is likely over.

      • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

        Really? I know he’s been hurt off and on all year, but I hadn’t heard his career is in jeopardy.

    • Aramis Ramirez’s career is likely over.

    • blackandorangepride 5 years ago

      when you mention Adam Dunn he would be open to coming to the A’s but the thing is he doesn’t want to DH I think Konerko would fit with the A’s also. The thing that always concerns me about the A’s is how they can never stay healthy they used the DL like 15 times already if they don’t stay healthy next year contention would be difficult. I don’t think they were ready to contend this year even with the horrible division because they lack so much offense and the pitching staff(not all pitchers) is not ready mentally to carry the team to the playoffs. I think the A’s are hopefully on the verge of a winning record but they play some difficult teams down the stretch, this year they don’t play well against .500 teams or higher and they have a hard time on the road.

  9. Daric Barton is on pace to put up a WAR of about 5 this year. There’s no way they should even entertain the thought of parting with him.

    Cust, on the other hand…

    • Cust on the other hand, ranks 7th in WAR in limited playing time. Had they not sent him down to start the season, he’d be easily in the top 3 DHs in the game.

      • *7th in WAR for DH’s. There’s only 6 players better at DH than him this year.

      • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

        I’m not going to argue Barton’s merits, I agree that he is a good player. But is he the type of player you build your offense around? I think his best value will happen when the lineup become deeper and more imposing. Then his talent will be highlighted.

  10. rottengazebo 5 years ago

    Daric Barton and Jack Cust need to stay right where they are. With both of their great OBP. numbers, why replace them? They could sign one of Carlos Pena or Adam Dunn, both of which could easily give them 30+ homers. Depending on how much money they are willing to spend, M-Ram could be a good signing to play LF.

  11. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    Please, let’s not consider Manny an option. Yes he’s available and would seem to be a good match with the A’s needs, but you can’t count on him to show up and consistently be the presense we want. Look what he’s done for the White sox since they got him (yes, I know limited # of AB’s).

    And Carlos Pena isn’t a great choice either. He’s hitting close to .200. I know I advocated for R. Branyan earlier (another low batting average guy), but he’s at least hitting close to .250.

    • batting average is a poor choice of stat to judge a hitter, especially a power hitter.

      Manny is literally the only player id like to see Cust replaced with.

      • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

        perhaps it is a poor choice. I know Cust gets on base, how many runs does he score? How many runs does he knock in? What is his WAR?

        • Cust’s WAR (keep in mind its a counting stat, and he missed the first 6 weeks of the season due to poor front office roster selections) is 1.9. He’s very good at hitting and is the least of the A’s problems. The A’s just need actual ballplayers in LF & RF, not AAAA guys like Sweeney or AAA filler like Carson & Watson.

          • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

            I agree there are bigger problems to address on offense. I am also sick of all the 4A players being used cause there just isn’t any upside. I think you and I are on the same page, I just don’t value Cust as much.

  12. Phadreus 5 years ago

    Cust and Barton are the only two players on the team with an OPS over .800. They are clearly the best two hitters and need to be retained. Cust trading power for average might have hurt his OPS and productivity a bit, but this is a team that currently has 5 starters with OPS below .700. Of those 5, the highest SLG is .383. 3 of those players have OBP under .310. That makes it very difficult to score runs. By the way, I am including Sweeney as a starter becaue he has started more games in RF than anyone else. But it is not like that matters, there are only two role players on the team that have OPS over .700 (.721 and .714).

    So to say that they should replace one or both of their two best hitters to add power is crazy. (not to mention that trading Barton would not likely get a great return because he doesnt excell in the sexy stats.)

    I personally think that they should stick with Pennington because his cost and OPS relative to his position (SS) are acceptable. Suzuki is also acceptable but his cost is going up now (arb. elig. next year). I just dont think that they are going to find a suitable alternative short of VMart (although Barajas and Buck I think are out there). It might be time to admit that Kouzmanoff is not working (although he has 14 HRs, he stinks) and it is probably better to move on from Raja Davis (or make him a 4th/5th outfielder). Although I like Sweeney’s potential and still think that he can increase his power next season, he is probably better suited to a platoon player or 4th outfielder right now. As a matter of fact, Kouz might not be a horrible platoon player (he has .100 OPS difference in his splits at this point) although he is too expensive to get a platoon. Lastly, Ellis might no longer work on this team. They might be better off with Rosales/Pennnington up the middle and Rosales has clearly demonstrated more power potential than Ellis.

    1) So my rec. would be to buyout Ellis (500k) and go with Rosales.
    2) Non-tender Kouzmanoff and sign or trade for a 3B (Encarnacion ?).
    3) Relegate Raja Davis to the bench as the 5th OF/pinch runner.
    4) Get Chris Carter in the OF (I think he is a LF generally).
    5) Keep Sweeney around in RF, but sign a righty to platoon with him (Andrew Jones or Nady).

    • They signed Suzuki through his arb years. 4 years $16 million.

    • -Pennington is the 6th best SS in MLB this year, according to WAR. Its impossible to replace him unless they want to trade him in a package for Steve Drew or Hanley or something like that. Not happening.

      -Kouzmanoff is one of the best defensive 3B this year, despite being bad at the plate, the A’s cant pick up any wins at 3B unless they get Beltre. Replacing Kouz with Endy would be a disaster.

      -Sweeney’s young and has bad knees already. No problems cutting the cord on him and replacing him with a FA bat in RF such as Magglio Ordonez.

      -Buyout Ellis and replace him with Orlando Hudson, who’s constantly good for not much money. I’d pickup Crisps option.

      -Throw as much money as they can at Carl Crawford. Crawford, Ordonez & Hudson make the A’s a force. They have the money to play with, they are definitely going to sign a good hitter this offseason. Whether its Crawford, Ordonez, Dunn or Manny, they are going to get someone big, because they are so tantalizingly close to being a contender, they just need 2 bats.

  13. What are the chances that Suzuki fetches anything in a trade? I know he looks terrible in the second half but the poor guy is hitting 3rd!! in the lineup. Slide Suzuki into a good lineup and a more hitter-friendly park like Fenway, bat him 6th or 7th, and I think he belts 20 jacks w/ a respectable average. No way should the A’s dump Barton – he’s the only good young position player they have. He’s just turned 25, it’s not unrealistic to think he could develop more power – thinking 15 HR’s a year, 40 doubles, .400 OBP, Barton’s a solid MLB player.

    What about Pena for DH? Sure his average stinks, but he can still smack HRs and shouldn’t bust the bank b/c of his crappy year. The A’s need productive corner outfielders. Davis is fun on the basepaths (when he can get on base) but he’s got no business manning left or right field everyday. And same for Ryan Sweeney. A better hitting 3rd baseman would be nice.

    • The A’s only need a LF & a RF to become contenders. I agree that Suzuki is young & cost-controlled and would be a nice fit in Boston, but the only player that would fit Oakland needs in a trade would be JD Drew.

  14. ZeroZeroZero 5 years ago

    Hideki Matsui might work as well. He isnt going to be a 30 homerun guy but should be in the 20-25 range. He just has to be used as a DH. I know the Angels have used him in left sparingly but last year with the Yankees if Matsui played the field he was no good at all for a few days. The price should be right for the A’s too.

    • no no no no. Matsui stinks.

      • Really? No he doesen’t. His power #’s might go down in Oakland but the A’s culd sure use his 74 RBI Production. Remember, this is a guy who drove in 115 I think, and hit only 16 HR’s one year.

  15. ryetoons 5 years ago

    I say keep Barton, and focus on getting more power at DH, 3B, and a corner outfield spot. Beltre can hit, but he’s not juiced like his LA days. I would love to see the A’s trade for Mark Reynolds or even Chris Young for the OF. Kemp could be cool too, plus Dave Stewart (agent) is from Oakland, hates LA, and makes a good ambassador for the A’s :) Sign Pena at DH for and the A’s own the west.

    • The only available 3B who is better than Kouzmanoff is Beltre, who might be too expensive. Its the corner OF spots the A’s need help with. Signing Crawford & Ordonez for them will do the trick. I’d say upgrading Ellis with Hudson at 2B would be the icing on the cake and with those 3, they are taking the AL West with ease.

  16. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    Here you go-Oakland A’s, go get you a real slugger, a guy who handles the bat real well, and he’s probably available-Prince Fielder. Throw a decent starting pitcher, maybe Daric Barton too. The Brewers have an awful lot of firepower-they could carry a high OBP slick fielding first baseman a lot easier than the A’s can. They also need starting pitching in the worst way.

    I think the A’s and Brewers just might have something each other needs.

    • A decent SP+Barton for ONE year of Prince? Surely you jest. Also, Barton is better than Prince at this point because Fielder is a DH playing 1B. Barton is also having a better year (according to WAR) than Prince. I’d trade Mortensen & Sweeney for Fielder at the most. If Oakland really wants him they can just wait a year and sign him as a FA, however signing a DH to a long term deal isnt wise.

    • A decent SP+Barton for ONE year of Prince? Surely you jest. Also, Barton is better than Prince at this point because Fielder is a DH playing 1B. Barton is also having a better year (according to WAR) than Prince. I’d trade Mortensen & Sweeney for Fielder at the most. If Oakland really wants him they can just wait a year and sign him as a FA, however signing a DH to a long term deal isnt wise.

  17. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    Here you go-Oakland A’s, go get you a real slugger, a guy who handles the bat real well, and he’s probably available-Prince Fielder. Throw a decent starting pitcher, maybe Daric Barton too. The Brewers have an awful lot of firepower-they could carry a high OBP slick fielding first baseman a lot easier than the A’s can. They also need starting pitching in the worst way.

    I think the A’s and Brewers just might have something each other needs.

  18. A’s offseason…

    -Ellis wants to stay, but Rosales is also a good defender and can hit AND he’s younger. So I might non-tender Ellis.
    -Get Chris Carter up. He might have stunk the first round, but so did Buster Posey. Carter can adjust to the level.
    -If the A’s want power, they should go at Beltre while non-tedering Kouz. Maggs, Adam Dunn, Manny, Pena, Vlad are all options even though Vlad might go back to Texas. Magglio should be a target because he’s a great clubhouse guy with tons of expirience, and serves as a veteran presence.
    -Try your chances on Carl Crawford. He expressed interest in the A’s earlier this season.
    But don’t give him an over-the top contract. If not, just pick up Crisp’s option, and move Davis into a 4th OF.
    -Keep Pennington. Good defender, good speed. He and Rosales though young, can serve as possible bridges to Grant Green and Jemile Weeks. Keep Barton long term too. I don’t know why some people say get rid of him.
    -The A’s probably will non-tender Cust. But I wouldn’t. Keep him at DH, he can provide 20 HR. That’s something the A’s could really use. And he’s cheap at that.
    -After all of the positions are filled, I don’t care it it’s in the offseason or midseason. Extend Cahill, G. Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey long term.

    How’s that?

    • 1. I’d buyout Ellis for sure, but make a serious run at Orlando Hudson. Rosales is not an everyday player, he’s the perfect bench super-UTL guy.
      2. Nothing wrong with playing Carter everyday in LF from here on out.
      3. Beane already offered Beltre a 3 year deal and he turned it down. Kouzmanoff is valuable on defense, he needs to be hitting #8 every day though. I wouldnt get rid of him unless Beltre signs.
      4. Carl Crawford in Oakland is a match made in heaven. With Crisp, Pennington & Davis, that’s four 40+ SB threats…shades of the 85 Cards there.
      5. Pennington is the 6th best SS in MLB this year, according to WAR. There’s no possible upgrade unless Beane pulls one from you-know-where and gets Hanley or S.Drew. He’s what you call “a keeper”.
      6. Cust is a good DH. There are other options that might be better, Dunn, Konerko, Manny, Prince Fielder….would it be worth it spending a lot of money on a DH though? History says no. Cust needs to stay, its excellent hitters at 2B, LF & RF need to emerge.
      7. Extending a closer? Beane will never do that. Henry Rodriguez looks the goods, Bailey is looking like trade bait at this point. If the Yanks decide they want Crawford, then they will need to trade one of Gardner, Granderson or Swisher….I can see the A’s throwing Bailey at one of them and seeing what the Yanks counter with.

  19. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    Yeah, that’s bad. I couldn’t remember if they got Anderson in the Cargo deal or not.

  20. They got Cargo and Anderson in the Haren deal, but then sent Cargo in exchange for Holliday later.

  21. Bradley carried us in 2006 to the playoffs. While it sucks that Either is gone, Bradley raked and was the catalyst that made that post all star push. With regards to the the Holliday trade, the jury is still out as it is too early to know the impact that Taylor is going to have on our team. You also have to remember that it is all about timing. Beane knew that 08-10 were going to be tough years and he has been preparing for the 11-14 seasons when our young pitching was ready to DOMINATE. As far as Beane’s track record, he has fleeced other gm’s way more than he has been fleeced.

  22. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    What’s he doing this year? Same home run rate as the last 3 years? I admit I didn’t check my stats before commenting but I still just don’t feel I can trust him to duplicate it again. But I also think you can’t count on the A’s giving him enough AB’s to hit his homers next year.

  23. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    You raise good points about the playoffs and Beane’s foresight. However, I’d really like to have the Holliday trade back. I don’t think Cargo would have the same dominance as he is with the Rockies, but I like him better long term than Taylor. As for Either, he’s overperformed based on what scouts said regarding his power production so I can forgive giving him up in trade (no one thought he was a 30hr, 100rbi guy). But everyone thought Cargo was special.

  24. Phadreus 5 years ago

    I think that Outman is more likely than Mazzaro (he might be better than Braden as well). Adding Bailey, Wuertz, Ziegler, Breslow, and Bevins to that makes a pretty good pitching staff.

  25. jpkinney7 5 years ago

    I just can’t get away from CarGo’s Home/Away Splits… I live in Colorado and the balls he’s hitting at Coors Field would be warning track shots at -2 Ft. Below sea level.

    Home = 1.218 OPS
    Away = 0.760 OPS

    Still, if I could take that trade back I would. Michael Taylor looks like a lost cause in AAA.

  26. melonis_rex 5 years ago

    Cust has almost entirely been a DH since his callup. It’s been him and Jeff Larish between LF and DH.

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