The Athletics, much like the Brewers, enjoyed a surprisingly fine offseason, and, not surprisingly, had to get a little bit creative to do so. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com caught up with A's GM Billy Beane, and here are the highlights:
- Beane said that, because of the A's financial constraints, their offseason strategy is often dictated by the moves they can't make. Oakland, after all, has a payroll that's about one-quarter the size of the Yankees', writes Crasnick. So, some players are simply going to get better offers from other teams.
- Such was the case this offseason, when the A's were turned down by free agents Lance Berkman, Adrian Beltre and Hisashi Iwakuma.
- Instead, the A's chose to make modest, "incremental" changes to their offense, according to Crasnick, improving the corner-outfield spots by trading for David DeJesus and Josh Willingham, and adding free-agent DH Hideki Matsui. And, elsewhere, they wanted to further augment their strengths: pitching and defense. Their strong, young rotation is the team's backbone, and that advantage is compounded by their home park's spacious dimensions and sizable foul territory.
- Signing a pair of not-cheap relievers in Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour may seem somewhat uncharacteristic of a scrupulous GM like Beane, especially when he himself has already cultivated a fine bullpen comprised of effective, cost-controlled types, but he had his reasons. "They're too good to be out there, and we had money to afford them," Beane told Crasnick.
- As well, the A's wanted to defray the workload on the guys already in the bullpen, who logged the 12th-fewest innings in the AL in 2010, according to Crasnick, but were worn down from a taxing 2009 in which they were called upon too frequently.
For a comprehensive list of all the A's offseason moves, check out our Transaction Tracker.