DALLAS -- The A's were popular Monday at the winter meetings, as general manager Billy Beane estimated trade discussion was held with more than half of the 29 other major league teams.

"We have not had to leave this room," Beane said of the A's hotel suite. "They've all been coming here. I'm like the hottest prom date -- they're all bringing corsages."

Even as Beane insists he is not shopping players, there appears little doubt that key veterans will be exiting Oakland in the near future.

Beane said he feels the A's are playing catch-up with the other three teams in the American League West, taking into account everything from competitiveness at the major league level to the quality of the farm system.

That's somewhat surprising considering the A's -- at 74-88 -- finished seven games ahead of the last-place Seattle Mariners in 2011. And it's hardly an assessment that will send season-ticket sales skyrocketing.

But if Beane feels there's that much work to be done, is there any reason to believe he won't jettison some of his top trading chips?

Trade speculation continued Monday regarding left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez and two-time All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.

A's manager Bob Melvin was asked how it felt to see some of his top pitchers swirling in trade rumors.

"I start to twitch a little bit when I hear that," he said with a smile.


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The A's plan to rebuild with younger prospects revolves around their optimism that Major League Baseball will soon grant them permission to build a new ballpark in San Jose, and that going young now will help develop a financially affordable core of talent that's ready to compete in the new digs.

Beane reiterated his optimism that commissioner Bud Selig will issue a statement soon, though he said he's heard no time frame for a decision and wouldn't say when the A's last heard from Major League Baseball.

But he said the team's entire brass has been involved in the dialogue -- principal owner John Fisher, co-owner Lew Wolff, president Mike Crowley and himself.

"A lot of work has gone into it from our end," Beane said. "And from baseball's end, they've also put a lot of work in. It's hard to imagine that much work going into something and not coming to a resolution that I'm optimistic about."

It's unlikely the A's will complete any trades by the time the meetings wrap Thursday. But it's believed the Texas Rangers were one of the teams the A's talked with Monday.

Beane said he has no reservations about trading within the division.

The Kansas City Royals surfaced Monday as a team interested in Gonzalez, who went 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA last season. One major league scout said he saw the Royals as an intriguing trade partner because they have what some consider the game's best farm system from which to deal prospects.

The A's would have to be blown away to deal Gonzalez, and it's reasonable to assume that any potential trade with the Royals might have to involve outfielder Wil Myers, Kansas City's top prospect.

Regardless of who is obtained, Beane said the A's are likely to explore short-term fixes in the outfield through free agency later in the winter. Oakland might lose all three starting outfielders -- Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp and David DeJesus -- to free agency.