With the 2011 Oakland A's battling for first place in the AL West to start the season, the A's brass may be put in a position of exploring options this summer as to how they may go about improving the team and shoring up weaknesses for the stretch run—and beyond.
And depending on the degree of futility their offense demonstrates, the A's may be forced to add a bat or two as we get closer to the July 31 trading deadline for the stretch run.
The A's, unlike some other clubs, must always juggle a delicate balance between keeping their payroll in check, maintaining long-term viability and stability, along with trying to improve a team that is looking to make a run at the postseason.
The A's options for improving their 2011 team mid-season are limited. They don't have many trade pieces. They don't have a whole lot of positions open, and the front office seems content (for the time being) at just about every position other than third base. Yet their lineup is wallowing at the bottom of MLB in every major offensive statistical category for the second-straight year.
The A's don't have any options in the minor leagues, and seem unwilling to hand over an everyday job to a rookie and let them get their feet wet while the team is desperately trying to scrap together wins. The A's farm system has been depleted and has not homegrown an impact position player since Eric Chavez over 10 years ago (Nick Swisher does not count).
Considering that the starting rotation and bullpen are both stable and deep, the lineup will be the main focus going forward.
Presumably the A's would be looking more towards a left-side-of-the-infield type player, but depending on how much, or how little, the offense improves, what position their targeted players plays may not matter as much. Their outfield is already five deep, but none of them are spectacular and immune from losing at-bats. Worst of all, none of them have much trade value.
Here is a list of feasible acquisitions (in no particular order) that may help shore up their lineup for, both the stretch run and possibly into the future.