The Athletics are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:
Eligible For Free Agency (4)
- Brandon McCarthy - McCarthy, now on the disabled list, figures to be in high demand this offseason. If the right-hander returns from the DL on schedule and the A's are out of contention by the end of July, he could be traded.
- Brandon Inge - Scott Sizemore should return in 2013, eliminating the Athletics' need for a second everyday third baseman. Note that Inge signed a new one-year contract with the Athletics and that the 2013 option on his previous deal with the Tigers is no longer in play.
- Bartolo Colon - In theory, Colon could also be available this summer. He has pitched well for the A's and they might have interest in re-signing him to a similar low-risk deal in 2013.
- Jonny Gomes - Bob Melvin has maximized Gomes' exposure to left-handed pitching and the early results are excellent. Perhaps the Bay Area native will re-sign and complement the likes of Seth Smith for another year.
- Manny Ramirez – Let's see what Ramirez does in 2012 before speculating about his role on the 2013 team.
Contract Options (2)
- Grant Balfour: $4.5MM club option with a $350K buyout. It's been a rough ten-game stretch for Balfour, who could be a summer trade candidate if he recovers from his current slump.
- Brian Fuentes: $6.5MM club option with a $500K option. Fuentes would be among the top left-handed relievers available this summer if the A's are willing to listen to trade offers for him. It would seem un-Athletics-like for the team to exercise this option and commit 10% of its payroll to a 37-year-old pitcher who won't pitch more than 5% of the team's innings. But if he puts together a strong season, the club could pick up the option and trade him.
Arbitration Eligible (7)
- First time: Jerry Blevins, Cliff Pennington
- Second time: Seth Smith, Daric Barton, Adam Rosales
- Third time: Dallas Braden, Joey Devine
Injuries and poor performance have created considerable uncertainty for some of Oakland's arbitration eligible players. Devine could be non-tendered, depending on his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Barton, off to another slow start at the plate, could be cut loose as well. As long as Braden's recovery from shoulder surgery progresses well, he figures to be retained this December. If not, he'll be non-tendered, too.
2013 Payroll Obligation
The A's have committed nearly $29MM to next year's team, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The franchise typically spends $50-65MM on its players, so GM Billy Beane should have some money at his disposal this offseason. However, the team's uncertain long-term future will presumably have some effect on Beane's ability to pursue free agents.