The A's aren't known for spending a ton of money in free agency, but every once in a while, they catch the baseball world by surprise (see: Yoenis Céspedes).
Oakland's current roster already is chock-full of young talent, so there's no need to go crazy signing expensive free agents. However, if the A's do decide to take a run at one big name, it should be a starting pitcher.
Allow me to introduce Patrick Corbin.
You probably already know the name quite well. A two-time All-Star, Corbin has spent his entire career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he's an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The 29-year-old left-hander is coming off the best season of his career, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. He notched a career-high 246 strikeouts in 200 innings, and limited opponents to a .197 batting average.
Corbin was a bargain at $7.5 million last season, but he figures to get a huge raise in free agency. Could the A's again surprise the baseball world and bring in a new ace in the prime of his career?
Forget the money for a second (easy for us to say!). Corbin would transform the A's starting pitching from a weakness to a strength.
Oakland's rotation could feature Corbin, Mike Fiers, Jesus Luzardo, Edwin Jackson and Daniel Mengden, with A.J. Puk and Jharel Cotton likely to return from Tommy John surgery sometime during the season. Combine that with a strong bullpen and powerful lineup, and the A's would have to be one of the favorites in the American League.
Now back to reality for a moment. Corbin is expected to receive at least $20 million per season, and he reportedly has drawn interest from the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees and Braves. The A's highest-paid player in 2018 was Khris Davis, who earned about half of that at $10.5 million.
Sure, it's unlikely Oakland will throw that type of money at any free agent. But in Corbin's case, it's at least worth considering.