The Oakland Athletics are in a holding pattern as they await word from Major League Baseball on whether they can relocate to San Jose.
But whatever happens, they again figure to go young.
That likely means parting with 30-something free agents such as outfielders Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham and David DeJesus.
It also means being open to trade offers for anyone on the roster with the exception of second baseman Jemile Weeks, according to major-league sources.
The A’s aren’t shopping any of their players, sources say. But they will listen on pitchers such as left-hander Gio Gonzalez and righty Trevor Cahill, both of whom could be in demand in a thin market for starters. Catcher Kurt Suzuki also could be in play.
Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a three-member panel to study the possibility of the A’s relocating to San Jose in March 2009. If baseball permits the move, the A’s would seek to build a contender to coincide with the opening of a new park. Construction probably would take three years.
Gonzalez, entering his first year of arbitration, would be a free agent by then. Cahill is signed through 2015 with options for ’16 and ’17, but the A’s might prefer to maximize his value by trading him for several younger players who would peak when the new park opened.
If baseball declines permission for the A’s to move – or continues to delay its decision – the team could a similar strip-down strategy, citing its poor revenues in Oakland, sources say.
General manager Billy Beane was quite aggressive last off-season, losing out on bids for free agents Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman, winning the rights (but failing to sign) Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, trading for Willingham and DeJesus.
This off-season will be different.
Once again, the A’s could be paring down.