Athletics general manager David Forst discussed the team’s offseason direction with multiple outlets Monday, including A’s Cast (hat tip to Martin Gallegos of MLB.com) and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights…
- Although the A’s non-tendered right-hander Blake Treinen before Monday’s deadline, that doesn’t necessarily mean the two sides are headed for a divorce. The team still has interest in re-signing Treinen, a lights-out reliever a couple years ago who fell on hard times this past season. Treinen pitched to a dismal 4.91 ERA/5.14 FIP with 9.05 K/9, 5.68 BB/9 and a 42.8 percent groundball rate across 58 2/3 innings during the 2019 campaign, in which he lost his role as the A’s closer to Liam Hendriks. As a result, the 31-year-old Treinen probably won’t cost an exorbitant amount to re-sign, but if he does end up out of the A’s price range, they could still sign a “solid veteran” to a short-term contract, Slusser writes. Also, they have already addressed their bullpen in multiple other ways this offseason, having claimed left-hander T.J. McFarland off waivers from the Diamondbacks and re-signed fellow southpaw Jake Diekman. The A’s did cut ties with lefty Ryan Buchter, though it seems they did so because there were concerns on their part about the three-batter minimum rule that appears likely to take effect in 2020.
- The A’s are on the hunt for a lefty-hitting middle infielder, though it’s “ideally someone who can play a number of positions,” according to Forst. That player would obviously seldom line up at shortstop, as MVP candidate Marcus Semien has that position locked down. But Oakland’s situation is far less certain at second base, where the club traded Jurickson Profar to the Padres this week. Speculatively speaking, in terms of the free-agent market, Cesar Hernandez, Brock Holt, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Scooter Gennett, Brad Miller, Joe Panik, Neil Walker and ex-Athletics Ben Zobrist and Eric Sogard are some of the players the A’s could turn to for lefty-swinging middle infield aid.
- Oakland’s next starting second baseman could come from within, as the team has every intention of giving former standout prospect Franklin Barreto an opportunity in 2020. It’s do-or-die time for Barreto, whom the Athletics acquired from the Blue Jays in the A’s widely panned Josh Donaldson trade in 2014 and who has no minor league options remaining. To this point, the 23-year-old Barreto has hit a horrid .189/.220/.378 with nine homers in 209 major league plate appearances.
- Meantime, fellow young infielder Jorge Mateo – picked up as part of the return from the Yankees for Sonny Gray in 2017 – hasn’t even appeared in the bigs yet. He’s also out of options, but the A’s want to give him a chance to establish himself next season. Mateo, 24, spent all of 2019 at the Triple-A level and hit .289/.330/.504 with 19 home runs and 24 stolen bases over 566 PA. That production looks palatable on paper, but according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric, it checked in 4 percent below the league average.