OAKLAND — Never one to map out his intentions in concrete detail, A's general manager Billy Beane played things close to the vest in his end-of-the-season media briefing Monday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.
He did offer some insight that should please most A's fans, saying the primary goal over the winter will be beefing up the offense. That's likely to come via free agency, as he indicated earlier this month.
"I think we're in a position now financially "... where we can consider adding some guys," he said Monday.
Another of his views, the A's faithful may not find so appealing. On the heels of his team's 75-86 record in the first season of a massive rebuilding, Beane stressed that continued patience is required.
"My goal is to continue to improve every year," he said. "I'm not going to go out and give some (blanket) statement to make everybody feel comfortable, like, 'Oh, this is it.' Realistically in our marketplace, with what we're doing, to do it right it takes a long time. Thing is, when it (is completed), it usually is sustainable."
Not exactly a rallying cry that gets the season-ticket sales chugging. But at least he made it clear that this season's woeful hitting performance won't cut it. The A's finished last in the major leagues in batting average and slugging percentage.
Their pitching, organizationwide, is considered to be among the best in baseball.
"(The pitchers') development is going be better served if they've got a little bit of room to work with offensively," Beane said. "It's tough, when you're a young pitcher coming up that you feel like you have to throw a shutout."
The A's will target good hitters, period — regardless of position or whether they bat right- or left-handed. It isn't their style to break the bank on a top-shelf free agent. And though the team has a surplus of prospects stockpiled through deals made in the past year, Beane reiterated he's hesitant to trade some of those prospects to land a premier hitter.
"We may be more inclined, while we're waiting for our farm system to mature, to look for guys here or there that could help for one or two years," Beane said, "(so) it doesn't take away from what we've tried to accomplish in the past year."
Other issues he touched on:
There isn't a very strong crop of free-agent third basemen, and Beane said Monday the team wouldn't "overpay" for one.
He also indicated there's no current plan to ask Chavez to switch to first base.
"I'm optimistic, given the surgical report, that he'll be back and be good," Beane said. "And I know he's really motivated."
Designated hitter Frank Thomas, outfielder Emil Brown and reliever Keith Foulke all seem unlikely to be retained. Reliever Alan Embree is a more realistic call to have his $3 million option exercised.
"He was great, under the circumstances, with everything," Beane said. "We (traded) away some of his best players during the winter and he proceeded to get off to a good start, and we (traded) away some of his best players during the season. The way I look at Bob, when we've given him a team that's good enough to win, we'll hold him responsible. That's not here yet."
Neither Beane nor Geren would comment on whether the entire coaching staff would return intact. That's expected to be discussed when organizational meetings are held in Phoenix in the next week or so.
Contact Joe Stiglich at email@example.com.