Five free agent outfielders who could be a fit for A's
Searching for outfield help
The A’s have been clear about their intent to add an outfielder this offseason, and they continue to explore trade possibilities during this week’s Winter Meetings. But prying away a player such as the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty or the Marlins’ Marcell Ozuna won’t be easy. Both will command siginficant returns and are attracting attention from other teams too. Oakland GM David Forst told reporters Tuesday that the free agent market is a possibility for finding an outfielder. With that in mind, here’s five free agents who might be a fit …
The A’s celebrate their 50th anniversary in Oakland in 2018, so why not consider this noteworthy name from their past? Granted, Gonzalez didn’t leave a huge footprint in Oakland. He was a 22-year-old prospect when he was packaged to Colorado in November 2008 for Matt Holliday (you may now wince). Gonzalez became a three-time All-Star and won three Gold Gloves with Colorado. Now 32, he’s coming off a down year, and his career numbers take a big dip away from Coors Field. But even if he’s past his prime, Gonzalez should have some production left, and he might be available on a one-year deal.
The A’s believe they’re a more athletic team with their young players that have emerged, but they lack a pure stolen base threat. The 30-year-old Maybin could help. He swiped 33 bags last season in just 114 games. The Astros plucked him off the waiver wire from the Angels in late August, and Maybin wound up with a World Series ring. His biggest contribution in the Fall Classic was a stolen base that won every American some free Taco Bell. But the A’s could do worse than adding someone who was part of that lengthy postseason run.
This veteran has appeared to be a possible fit for Oakland on previous occasions. Now could be that time. Injuries have become a problem in recent years, but Gomez just turned 32, and he doesn’t have to be an everyday player for the A’s. It’s reasonable to expect he’s got something left in the tank. Gomez can handle center field, though you wouldn’t want to run him out there regularly. Another player with postseason experience, he could be a good complementary piece to go along with the A’s young core.
Like Gonzalez, Jay is a left-handed hitter who, on the surface, doesn’t fit what the A’s are looking for. But his numbers hold up very nicely against left-handed pitching. He also plays all three outfield spots capably, and Forst has mentioned a desire for a player who can handle both center field and the corners. He falls in the category of “steady vet” more than anything. Although that won’t get the fan base charging to the box office, Jay, 32, could fit nicely into the framework of this team.
Jackson could have been a fit for last year’s A’s team before Rajai Davis was signed. It seems like he’s been around forever, but Jackson turns just 31 in February. He twice led the American League in triples early in his career with the Tigers, but he’s not quite that factor on the bases anymore. His value would come as a right-handed bat who hits lefties well. Jackson batted .318 with a .387 on-base percentage in 318 plate appearances last season, and he can play all three outfield spots. Perhaps he could form a platoon with Matt Joyce in left field, which could open up right field for Chad Pinder.