01/05/09 12:01 AM EST
A's likely to ramp up reconstruction
GM Beane has been rather steady since Holliday trade
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
The fact is, however, that the A's got Holliday before the holidays and added nothing over the holidays.That shouldn't startle or discourage Oakland fans, though. Beane has infant twins who surely monopolized his attention in late December, and he suggested throughout the fall and at the Winter Meetings that he was prepared to be patient in what he called a "slow-developing market." The market for Giambi, who turns 39 on Thursday, Abreu, 35 in March, and Anderson, 37 in June, appears to be developing at a glacial pace. But Giambi remains the favorite to serve as Oakland's annual attempt at catching lightning in a bottle with a veteran slugger looking for a late-career resurrection. It started with Frank Thomas in 2006 and continued with Mike Piazza in '07 and Mike Sweeney in '08. Thomas, Piazza and Sweeney all signed one-year contracts with the A's, but only the Thomas gamble truly paid off; Piazza and Sweeney sent huge chunks of time on the disabled list. Giambi is said to be looking for a guaranteed three-year deal, which is unlikely to come from Beane, who might be flirting with Abreu and Anderson simply to let Giambi know the A's have other options. Abreu, however, also wants at least three guaranteed years, and like Anderson, he's an outfielder/designated hitter. That makes both players less of an ideal fit because the A's are set at DH with Jack Cust, Holliday and Ryan Sweeney have starting outfield jobs locked up, and Oakland has a number of bright young outfield prospects. Beane said at the Winter Meetings that he'd still like to add more offense, but he also said he was open to the idea of adding an impact starting pitcher. All-Star righty Justin Duchscherer is the only truly established starter on the current staff. In short, that one bold November move was a nice start. It kicked off an offseason that's been loaded with A's rumors. Oakland fans should hole that all that smoke will bring some fire in the following weeks.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.