Athletics

Five realistic free agent starting pitcher targets for A's

Five realistic free agent starting pitcher targets for A's

The 2019 A's starting rotation will probably look a lot different than it did at the end of 2018. Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson are all unrestricted free agents, and Mike Fiers is up for arbitration.

While the A's do have some reinforcements within the organization, they could certainly benefit from a shrewd free agent signing or two. Obviously, Oakland won't be in the running for the top big-money free agents, ruling out pitchers like Dallas Keuchel and J.A. Happ, but here are five options that could be in their price range.

Nathan Eovaldi

Eovaldi put together a strong 2018 between Tampa Bay and Boston. The right-hander went 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 22 appearances, including 21 starts. In seven career seasons, he has compiled a 4.16 ERA.

Eovaldi earned just $2 million this season, and while he figures to get more than that next year, he should still be affordable for a team like the A's. At the age of 28, he is right in his prime and could provide a strong veteran presence for Oakland.

[ROSS: Looking ahead to bright future]

Clay Buchholz

Buchholz pitched brilliantly in 17 starts with the Diamondbacks this season. The 34-year-old turned back the clock, going 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. In 12 big league seasons, Buchholz has a 3.86 ERA.

The Diamondbacks only paid Buchholz $1.5 million for his services in 2018 and as he approaches the age of 35, he likely won't get much more next season. The two-time All-Star could prove to be a nice under-the-radar signing for a team like Oakland.

Jeremy Hellickson

After a rough 2017, Jeremy Hellickson bounced back this season with the Nationals. The right-hander went 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 17 starts for Washington. He has a 4.07 career ERA in nine Major League seasons.

Hellickson only earned a base salary of $2 million this year and should be affordable. The 31-year-old could provide the A's with another reliable veteran starter for a reasonable price.

[RATTO: Why this is a big offseason]

Tyson Ross

Tyson Ross, a Berkeley native and former A, went 8-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 31 games this season, including 23 starts. The former All-Star began the year with the Padres, before being shipped to the Cardinals at the trade deadline. After joining St. Louis, Ross posted a 2.73 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.

The 31-year-old right-hander earned a base salary of $1.75 million in 2018, and doesn't figure to get a whole lot more next season. As a hometown pitcher, Ross would certainly fit into the A's “Rooted in Oakland” campaign, and he could add some depth to the rotation.

CC Sabathia

Speaking of hometown pitchers, Vallejo native CC Sabathia could be a terrific signing at the age of 38. The left-hander showed he still has something in the tank in his 18th season, going 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts with the Yankees.

Sabathia made $10 million in 2018, but maybe he would take a hometown discount to play for the A's in his 19th big league season. It makes a lot of sense for both sides, as Sabathia would get another chance to play for a playoff contender before he retires, while Oakland would get a six-time All-Star and fan favorite.

Source: Free agent second baseman Eric Sogard interested in A's return

Source: Free agent second baseman Eric Sogard interested in A's return

Having a lefty bat at the second base position continues to be one of the A's main focuses this offseason

That could mean reuniting with Eric Sogard. A source tells NBC Sports California the 34-year-old is open to returning to Oakland.

Sogard, currently a free agent, had an exceptional campaign in 2019 slashing .290/.353/.457 with 13 homers across 110 games with the Blue Jays and the Rays. He was part of the Tampa Bay squad that came to the AL Wild-Card Game in Oakland and celebrated in the visitors' clubhouse.

A's fans remember the outcome of that. 

The second baseman spent six seasons with the A's from 2010-15 where he accumulated a .239 average with eight home runs and 105 RBI. 

The A's traded second baseman Jurickson Profar to the Padres on Dec. 2, so they have a need at the position.

Despite picking up a talented second baseman during Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the team will still seek a more prominent starter at the position. 

[RELATED: A's are focused on keeping young stars]

The A's reportedly are interested in bringing current Mets second baseman Jed Lowrie back for the third time -- but there are 10 million reasons as to why the Mets wouldn't make a trade.

Did we mention Sogard bats left-handed yet?

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft: A's lose Mark Payton, acquire minor leaguers

2019 MLB Rule 5 Draft: A's lose Mark Payton, acquire minor leaguers

As teams headed down south to the Winter Meetings in San Diego, the two main goals for the A's appeared to be finding a left-handed bat at second base, as well as continuing conversations with relief pitchers.

While the A's didn't make any huge acquisitions during the meetings, the 2019 Rule 5 Draft came and went as it does every year. With that, Oakland selected three players in the minor-league phase of the draft and had a couple more transactions as well.

Second baseman Vimael Machin was acquired from the Phillies for cash considerations. He will be competing for a roster spot.

The 26-year-old slashed .295/.390/.412 with seven home runs and 65 RBI across the Double and Triple-A teams in the Chicago Cubs organization last season. 

Jason Krizan was selected from the Mets during the Triple-A phase. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .275 across two teams last season. 

The Athletic's prospect writer Emily Waldon says he's going to be a solid addition to the A's organization.

"His walk rate has always been impressive," Waldon told NBC Sports California. "He doesn't have a ton of swing and misses, with some raw power, with eight to ten home run seasons. He's also a dependable defender with a good veteran presence." Waldon also joked Krizan has "80-grade sarcasm."

The A's also selected catcher Jose Colina, who put up some massive numbers with the Arizona League Indians Blue after signing with Cleveland as a minor-league free agent in June. The 21-year-old slashed .372/.443/.744 with eight homers and 20 RBI.

Right-handed pitcher Deivy Mendez rounds the group out. In 25 appearances across Single-A and Short-A last season with the Padres organization, he went 2-1 with six saves and a 4.20 ERA, striking out 33. 

[RELATED: A's interested in acquiring Lowrie for third time]

The Cincinnati Reds selected outfielder Mark Payton, who was claimed off waivers by the A's in December of 2018. Payton was selected during the major league phase of the draft which, according to Waldon, has the A's losing some muscle at the plate.

However, scouts reportedly didn't see the 28-year-old "doing a great deal outside of filling some needs." That power is what has gotten the most talk around Payton. 

Payton took advantage of the PCL last season with Triple-A Las Vegas and slashed .334/.400/.653 with 30 home runs and 97 RBI in 118 games.