Crosby doesn't expect to return to A's
Kennedy, Nomar, Duchscherer, Tomko eligible free agents
OAKLAND -- Now that baseball's postseason is over, it's time to fire up the Hot Stove.
Eligible players are free to file for free agency the day after the World Series ends, so Hideki Matsui's heroics to help the Yankees close out the Phillies on Wednesday opened the filing floodgates.
Six members of the 2009 A's are eligible to hit the open market this offseason, and one -- right-handed swingman Edgar Gonzalez -- has been out there for a few weeks. He was removed from the 40-man roster when he was sent outright to Triple-A Sacramento on Oct. 10, allowing him to become a free agent immediately.
Infielders Adam Kennedy, Bobby Crosby and Nomar Garciaparra and right-handed starters Justin Duchscherer and Brett Tomko are Oakland's other players who are eligible for free agency. All but Tomko filed on Thursday.
Crosby, who lost his starting job at shortstop when the A's signed Orlando Cabrera during Spring Training and didn't get it back when Cabrera was traded to the Twins in July, told MLB.com early Thursday afternoon that he'd been anticipating this day for some time.
"I just got off the phone with my agent," Crosby said. "I don't know exactly what the process is, but I know he's filed, so [the process has] started."
The 2004 American League Rookie of the Year, Crosby, who turns 30 in January, played all over the infield and also appeared in the outfield during the final year of his five-year, $12.75 million contract.
Asked if he was interested in returning to Oakland, Crosby said he hadn't heard from the A's since the season ended, adding that he'd accepted that 2009 was his final year with the team when rookie Cliff Pennington was named the starting shortstop after the Cabrera trade.
"I honestly don't see it happening," said Crosby, who batted .223 with six home runs, 29 RBIs and a .295 on-base percentage in 97 games at five positions this season. "I'd like the opportunity to play shortstop somewhere."
The A's are known to have had conversations with the agents for Kennedy and Duchscherer, but assistant general manager David Forst on Thursday told MLB.com that those talks have been casual at best.
"There hasn't been anything of substance," Forst said.
Kennedy, who was acquired in a Minor League trade with the Rays in May to serve as a fill-in for injured second baseman Mark Ellis, took over at third base, a position he'd never played in the Majors, when Ellis returned to the lineup and proved to be one of the team's most consistent offensive contributors.
Oakland's primary leadoff man for much of the season, Kennedy batted .289 with 11 homers, 63 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage. He made a career-high 20 errors, including 13 at the hot corner, and Ellis is under contract for 2010 with a club option for '11, but the A's have expressed a desire to bring back Kennedy, who turns 34 in January.
Six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez also is under contract for 2010 with a club option for '11, but he's coming off his second back surgery and hasn't played in more than 90 games since 2006.
Third baseman Brett Wallace, one of Oakland's top hitting prospects, batted .302 with nine home runs, 28 RBIs and a .365 OBP in 44 games at Sacramento after being acquired in the July trade that sent Matt Holliday to the Cardinals. Wallace is expected to be invited to big league Spring Training to compete for a job, but he's considered a defensive work in progress.
Thus, the A's might be more comfortable re-signing Kennedy as insurance against the unavailability of Chavez and in case Wallace is deemed not quite ready for prime time.
Kennedy, who also played first base and in the outfield in '09, also might make sense in the type of utility role that Crosby and Garciaparra helped fill last season.
"I like it here," Kennedy said in early October. "Who knows if they want me back, but I'm open to [coming back]."
Garciaparra, 36, was contemplating retirement before he signed with Oakland during Spring Training. Limited by a chronic condition in both calves all year, he batted .281 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .314 OBP in 65 games and isn't expected back.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Garciaparra told MLB.com when asked if he again was considering calling it a career. "I still love the game and feel like I could help someone, but obviously I'm not an everyday player anymore, so who knows if someone's going to even want me."
Duchscherer, a two-time AL All-Star -- as a setup man in 2005 and as a starter in '08 -- who turns 32 this month, missed all of the 2009 season, during which he made a reported $3.9 million. He had shoulder surgery this spring and saw his rehab stalled multiple times by back problems. And on Aug. 22, he announced that he'd been diagnosed with clinical depression.
The A's, who had the youngest starting staff in the Majors this past season, are interested in bringing back Duchscherer, who told MLB.com last week that he's "feeling much better." But Duchscherer, whose 2007 and '08 seasons were shortened by hip injuries that led to surgery, likely would have to accept an incentives-based deal.
Tomko, 36, was picked up in August after being let go by the Yankees and went 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts with the A's, but he was shut down for the year with an irritated nerve in his right biceps after beating the Rangers for his 100th career victory in mid-September.
The A's, who are well stocked with talented young starters, aren't expected to aggressively pursue Tomko, who should have plenty of other suitors.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.