Official word has yet to come down, but A's players can already picture what life will be like with All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday penciled into the middle of their lineup.
An announcement is expected today that the A's will acquire Holliday from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for reliever Huston Street, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and starting pitcher Greg Smith.
The teams reportedly were awaiting results of physicals being taken by the players, notably Smith, who had surgery in October to remove a bone chip from his left elbow.
But all signs point toward the A's and Rockies pulling off the majors' first blockbuster trade of the offseason. The addition of Holliday, a left fielder who's hit .319 with 128 homers through five big league seasons, received a big thumbs up from the A's two longest tenured players.
"I don't remember the last time we added such an impact player," third baseman Eric Chavez said. "We've added pieces before, but the last time I can remember us doing something like this was (trading for) Jermaine Dye (in 2001). It's definitely exciting. After two years of mediocre play, it gives everybody within the organization, and hopefully the fans of Oakland, some hope."
Second baseman Mark Ellis, who signed a two-year deal in October to remain with the A's, was just as excited.
"The fact is, you get one guy in the middle there who is a legitimate No. 3 hitter, and he's going to make everybody around him
If the A's plans come together as desired, Chavez will join Holliday in the middle of the lineup. Three months removed from right shoulder surgery, Chavez said his rehab is going smoothly and that he wants to start throwing and swinging a bat in January.
The A's are keeping their fingers crossed Chavez can still handle third on a daily basis, despite speculation that a shift to first base might be necessary. Chavez knows what he expects from himself.
"There's no doubt I'm going to be playing third," he said. "The big question mark is how my (throwing) arm responds to surgery. "... But the way I see it, I've been making up throws my whole career with the way my arm's felt. If need be, I'll bounce it over to first."
He added: "I don't want to move, but if I have to and my arm doesn't respond, we'll have to make an adjustment. But I fully plan on playing third base."
In other news, Paul Kinzer, who represents free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, said the A's are one of about 10 teams that have expressed interest in his client.
Furcal made $13 million in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents other than their own Friday, and Kinzer said Furcal is looking for a deal that extends beyond two years.
Contact Joe Stiglich at email@example.com.