A's off-season issues
After winning the American League West title with a mostly young team, the A's appear in good shape for the future. But they still have issues to deal with during the offseason. Here's a look at their most pressing questions: RE-SIGN STEPHEN DREW? Drew and the A's hold a $10 million mutual option for 2013, meaning both sides must agree to exercise it, or else the team pays him a $1.35 million buyout and he becomes a free agent. The A's can still try to re-sign the shortstop in free agency. Drew is a smooth defender and found his batting stroke toward the end of the season. If he leaves, the A's likely would pursue a shortstop outside the organization or shift Cliff Pennington from second back to short. CLUBHOUSE CHEMISTRY? The A's had a great clubhouse vibe, and players believe that was a big reason for their 94-68 record. If they want to retain that, re-signing outfielder Jonny Gomes would be a step in the right direction. A's manager Bob Melvin and G.M. Billy Beane want him back, but Gomes also would like more than the 279 at-bats he got this season as a platoon player. VETERAN PITCHING? Rookies Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker emerged as major contributors, and fellow rookies A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily showed promise. But the A's may want to consider adding an experienced arm or two. They could re-sign Brandon McCarthy, who expects to be full strength by spring training after undergoing brain surgery. But shoulder problems also make him a question mark. Bartolo Colon seems a long shot. POWER BAT? Yoenis Cespedes is a bona fide power hitter, but Josh Reddick's late-season struggles showed he might not be the answer in the No. 3 spot. The A's could use one more big bat, but where would he be plugged in? If the A's aren't sold on the Brandon Moss/Chris Carter combo, they could look for a first baseman.