Though Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has publicly stated his intentions are to keep the roster intact, there are a few guys that should, at the very least, be considered if he decides to shake things up.
According to Joe Stiglich of BayAreaNewsGroup.com, Beane had this to say:
I think we're in great shape. The satisfying thing about the crowd's response to this team was they're gonna get to see this team, by and large, next year. If there's moves made, the idea would be additions. I've had situations where we had great seasons and I knew the team wasn't gonna be back (because of) free agency and things like that. (The goal is) to try and continue the momentum in the winter. We should be able to build on this next year.
That's music to the ears of A's fans who've suffered through annual fire sales.
The 2012 squad wildly outplayed expectations. They took the Detroit Tigers to Game 5 of the ALDS, after an amazing season which saw the A's crowned as AL West Champions on the last day of the regular season.
The magical thing about it is, they did it in the face of adversity.
Whether it was continued success after key injuries or relative no-name players producing for the green and gold, the A's kept winning.
But will the wins keep coming in 2013?
Each team in the AL West has the ability to attract big name free agents at a rate that is simply better than what the A's can do. Nothing should change for the Texas Rangers or Los Angeles Angels next season.
If the A's hope to get stronger and play further into October next year, they'll need to make minor adjustments here and there. Of course, there's nothing to say the current crop of players won't get better.
That's the hope both fans and Beane have after all.
But just in case trades are on the horizon, here are a few guys that could provide value in return without damaging Oakland's chances next year (hopefully).
Brandon Moss (1B)
First baseman Brandon Moss saw a ton of success in just 84 regular-season games this year. Mostly platooning, Moss hit .291, 18 doubles and 24 home runs. His power and extra base hits gave him an OPS of .954.
He also plated 52 runs.
His new-found success was a big spark for the A's, who prior to using Moss tried Daric Barton, Kila Ka'aihue, Brandon Allen, Adam Rosales and Chris Carter at the same position.
But can he sustain it?
It's a serious question for a guy who in the five years prior didn't touch these numbers.
If Billy Beane is comfortable continuing to platoon Moss and Carter at first, there's no issue. Both guys have to accept the role as well.
Something to consider however, is Moss' age.
He'll be 29 next year, whereas Carter is three years younger. Carter was hot and cold down the stretch, but it's plausible that with consistent time at the plate, Carter's heat would remain more constant.
Also, the value for Moss right now may be as high as it will ever get.
The A's could get a solid piece in return and open up an everyday spot for Carter.
Cliff Pennington (2B/SS)
Cliff Pennington is not the shortstop of the future for the Athletics. He's not the second baseman of the future either.
He's nearly 30, and there are options waiting in the wings.
At shortstop, Addison Russell is a couple years away from the big leagues, but former shortstop Grant Green is still an option. Jemile Weeks, if he can rebound, will once again man second base.
Like Moss, Pennington's value may be at an all-time high.
He wasn't extremely consistent, but he did have two games of above .500 hitting in the postseason and was a valuable No. 9 hitter.
Based on the postseason and his solid defensive skills, a team looking to shore up second base with a veteran presence may call Oakland about Pennington.
One more thing which may hurt Pennington's opportunity in the everyday lineup next year is the return of Scott Sizemore, who showed promise before suffering an injury in Spring Training.
Beane has said Sizemore is a "potential option" at third and second base, according to Susan Slusser of SFGate.com.
With Sizemore, Pennington, Jemile Weeks, Josh Donaldson and possibly Brandon Inge in the mix, someone is going to be left out.
Seth Smith (DH/OF)
There is nothing wrong with Seth Smith in the lineup.
The problem is, he blocks Jonny Gomes, who has more value to the entire roster.
In 125 games, Smith had 383 at-bats. He hit .240 with 14 home runs and 25 extra-base hits. He scored 55 times and plated 52 runs.
In 99 games, Gomes had 279 opportunities at the dish. He hit .262 with 18 home runs and 10 extra-base hits. He scored 46 runs and produced 47 RBI.
Gomes was nearly as effective, in fewer games.
But the advantage Gomes provides, that Smith does not, is leadership.
Gomes was one of the go-to guys down the stretch, making sure the A's roster, filled with an incredible amount of rookies, remained calm.
Then there's the fact he's a local.
The Petaluma native became a hometown favorite for obvious reasons (re-stated though: Local inspiration, fan-favorite for his personality and veteran leadership).
Making $1 million in 2012, his play certainly should lead to an increase in pay, and possibly a role as an everyday starter. As it stands, that can't happen unless a spot frees up.
With Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes manning the outfield, that's not a likely scenario.
However, DH might be on the table.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!