With the A's coming off their third-straight sub .500 season, General Manager Billy Beane has made it clear to the A's very small and ever thinning fan base that rebuilding is key for future success.
The A's over the past two or three seasons have spent most of their efforts trying to replenish their depleted farm-system.
However, last season's off-course "spending spree" that ultimately backfired, caused Beane and the rest of the A's front office to re-evaluate their situation and their biggest organizational needs.
With Eric Chavez coming off another major surgery, the A's aren't too certain as to who will anchor the hot-corner in 2010. Prospect Brett Wallace isn't quite ready defensively, and recently signed 3B Dallas McPherson has had health problems of his own. And with the A's currently in a full-blown "Youth Movement", free agent Adam Kennedy may have to wait see before the A's offer him a deal to return.
With Orlando Cabrera, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday simply not panning out the way Beane envisioned, the A's will be more disciplined this off-season to stay on course with rebuilding for the future.
But with the team finishing near or at the bottom of most offensive categories for yet another season, Beane is always looking for upgrades, just not via free agency. Beane and the A's biggest needs are third base, shortstop, and perhaps a left-fielder.
Beane and the A's are going to be looking for younger players to fill up their biggest needs first, and will not rely on big-time free agents this time around.
So, A's fans should expect a quiet winter, and shouldn't expect to see free agents like Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Delgado and Miguel Tejada in any Oakland related news any time soon.
Because of all their rebuilding efforts over the past few seasons, the A's have managed to put together a talented pitching core that should be a force in the American League for years to come. However, a veteran pitcher is desperately needed in the young rotation that includes Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill and Vin Mazzaro.
Free Agent Brett Tomko, who was picked up by the A's as a late season addition, performed well enough. However, the A's are not expected to bring Tomko back, who will likely get offers from several teams.
Justin Duchscherer, who was offered arbitration by the A's earlier this week, isn't expected to accept, simply because it could mean a reduced salary. The A's aren't expected to retain Duchscherer, a type B free-agent, either.
Ex-A's pitcher, Mark Mulder, who's had health problems as well as some mechanical issues is, however, a candidate to return to Oakland. If Mulder is healthy, and can get his mechanics back, who wouldn't be interested?
Regardless of what Beane and the A's front office have in mind, the A's are constantly becoming younger by the day, and with the A's moving in a rebuilding direction, the thinning fan base in Oakland must endure another season of young players finding their way. But as was the case with Andrew Bailey, sometimes young players can be extremely exciting to watch.