2012 Contract Issues: Oakland Athletics

The Athletics are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.  Here's what the team faces after the 2011 season:

Eligible For Free Agency (7)

  • David DeJesus, Mark Ellis, Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, Hideki Matsui, and Conor Jackson have accounted for 729 plate appearances this year, about 54% of the team's total.  Throw in non-tender candidate Kevin Kouzmanoff and that rises past 60%, so the offense could see huge turnover.  Jackson is getting on base, and Willingham is showing some pop, but so far this large group of position players is failing offensively.  There is plenty of time to turn things around, and players such as Ellis, Crisp, and DeJesus are also valued for their defense.  Still, the team's top outfield prospects are not ready to make an impact in 2012, so offense could again be a problem.
  • Rich Harden is also eligible for free agency.

Contract Options (1)

  • Michael Wuertz: $3.25MM club option with a $250K buyout.  Wuertz missed time with shoulder and hamstring injuries, but he's been sharp in the early going.  The A's will probably pick up his option.

Arbitration Eligible (14)

There might be a few non-tenders here, such as Kouzmanoff, but this is a huge arbitration class for Oakland.  Bailey will not have the 100 career saves that Bobby Jenks and Jonathan Papelbon did, but he could still get $3MM+.  Barton may also be in that range, Braden should stay there, and Gonzalez could reach $4MM.  Sweeney, Breslow, and Ziegler could get close to $2MM each.  McCarthy is tough to predict, and keep in mind that these are just rough estimates in all cases.  Assuming only Kouzmanoff is cut loose I'll put this group in the $25MM range.    

2012 Payroll Obligation

The Athletics' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $24.238MM if Wuertz is retained.  Double that number to account for the arbitration eligibles, and the A's are about $17MM below this year's payrollJemile Weeks could take over at second base, but the team would need to figure out third base, DH, and all three outfield spots.  GM Billy Beane will probably have to work the trade market to find affordable, useful players for some of those openings.

18 Responses to 2012 Contract Issues: Oakland Athletics Leave a Reply

  1. j6takish 4 years ago

    Despite his overall lousiness so far this season, I hope the Tigers take a look at DeJesus next season. He can get on base and play pretty good defense, two concepts that are foreign to Dombrowski.

  2. The Braves have long coveted Josh Willingham, so if they want to bring him back then they’ll have to outbid Atlanta.

    • fxx3605 4 years ago


      • Josh Willingham is a free agent. I believe the rest of what I wrote is fairly self-explanatory.

        • Pete 4 years ago

          Where would be play? His defense is lousy and he’s getting old. He might have to DH next year. It would be a bad signing for ATL.

  3. Before paying Barton 3 Million can we see if he can hit three home runs this year? So many good young 1B such as Smoak, LaPorta, Lind. A’s have to do better than this.

    • j6takish 4 years ago

      Daric Barton is an OBP Machine, but is he really that unathletic to where he can’t play anywhere else? 1b is where you hide fat guys who can’t field but can hit 35 homers a year

      • Pete 4 years ago

        Barton led the league in walks at age 24. That’s not something you replace, plus he makes insane picks at first. If anything, the A’s should target a mashing 3B with bad defense, because Barton can hide that.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      Power or no power, Barton was the 6th most productive 1B in baseball last season. He had a bad April. But if he gets back on track (and he’s been looking better the past few days), there’s no way they should be looking to replace him.

      $3M for 2012 would be a steal.

  4. tiduss 4 years ago

    Oh Billy Beane. What will you do now?

  5. crashcameron 4 years ago

    problem is, barton is an ‘on-base machine’ for an offence that has little capacity to drive anyone home. kinda like putting a fresh set of tires on a car that’s running on three cylinders

    • Guest 4 years ago

      Do you really believe that DeJesus, Willingham and Matsui will continue to struggle as much as they have, though? Or Crisp, Ellis and Pennington, for that matter? Or even Kouzmanoff?

      Not saying they’re gonna be the Yankees or Red Sox. But the A’s offense is likely to be much better over the next 5 months than they were over the last 5 weeks. If Willingham, Matsui and DeJesus (or even just two of them) can get close to their career averages, and the rest of the guys in the regular lineup can hit slightly better than they did last year (which isn’t an unreasonable expectation), then there’s a pretty good chance their offense can finish in the middle of the pack in runs scored. And that’s not even taking into account a potential (actually probable) midseason acquisition.

  6. TheWoodyD 4 years ago

    I’d like to see the A’s resign both Willingham and Crisp if they’re healthy. A healthy Sweeney is basically the same as DeJesus, so they can let him go. If they resign Conor Jackson, too, they’re still basically set in the outfield. That’s not necessarily a fear-inducing outfield full of power, but maybe Willingham will start heating up after he gets acclimated to the AL.

    The positions they really need to address are 2B, SS, and 3B. Having Ellis, Pennington, and Kouz in the lineup is killing the A’s right now as they’re all hitting just above the Mendoza line, with OBPs only slightly higher. Hopefully Weeks can finally put together an injury-free season and Grant Green can power his way through the minors to the big leagues in a year or two. Otherwise it’s going to be a few more offseasons of tossing money at big FAs who keep going elsewhere.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      Don’t forget about Stephen Parker. Between Parker, Green, Weeks and Cardenas, I don’t worry about the future of the infield a whole lot. It seems very possible that at least 2 of those 4 guys will work out.

      I just hope that Taylor can get back on track in Sacramento this year, and that Carter can improve his defense a lot (I’d hate to see him need to be a full-time DH so early in his career). It would be nice to have them both ready by next year, just in case they do lose 3 or 4 of the outfielders who are set to become free agents this winter.

  7. hope we keep josh willingham 4 a few more years

  8. Pete 4 years ago

    So the 2012 A’s currently look like this:

    1B: D. Barton

    2B: J. Weeks

    SS: C. Pennington

    3B: ?

    C: K. Suzuki

    LF: ?

    CF: ?

    RF: ?

    DH: ?

    Is it just me, or is it actually pretty exciting to see what moves Beane will pull here?

  9. Guest 4 years ago

    I don’t need “made up metrics” to tell me that Barton is a very good baseball player. I’ve seen him play about 150 times since being called back up in 2009. And there aren’t but MAYBE ten 1Bs in the league that I’d care to see him replaced with. And they’re all either unavailable, and/or unaffordable for the A’s.

  10. Pete 4 years ago

    Yeah, get rid of the guy who has the best plate discipline in the game at age 24. Would have have traded Youkilis in his first year too? Cool story Hansel.

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