The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports Oakland are looking to replace Frank Thomas’ production with that of Mike Piazza.

the A’s began talks with Padres catcher Mike Piazza last week about becoming the team’s DH. While negotiations are continuing, according to a source, Oakland is unlikely to sign Piazza, a Type-A free agent, until after the Dec. 1 arbitration deadline so that the team does not lose a draft pick. Piazza, who also was an A’s target last offseason, probably is looking for a two-year deal.

Then there’s the spot that will be open when left-handed starter Barry Zito opts for free agency: On Monday, the team put in a bid for the rights to Japanese lefty Kei Igawa, according to a major-league source. As many as 10 other teams also were expected to put in a bid with Igawa’s Hanshin Tigers, including large payroll clubs such as the Yankees and Mets, so it’s a long-shot that Oakland would acquire the 27-year-old, who went 13-9 in the Central League last season.’s Buster Olney, completely ignoring the appeal of Amoeba Records’ vast selection Savatage rarities at their Berkeley location, surveys the possible move on purely baseball terms.

Oakland is stacked with left-handed hitters such as Eric Chavez and Mark Kotsay, and Thomas provided the right-handed balance. Piazza would serve this purpose, as well — he hit .359 against lefties last season, with a .421 on-base percentage. And in an offseason when the best offensive players are getting six-year deals or eight-year deals, Piazza would probably require only a one- or two-year deal, which would better fit Oakland’s modest payroll.

Olney also stresses Piazza’s low batting average last year at the place Pets Fly Balls Go To Die (.233) compared to a none too shabby .332 away.

Slusser’s colleague, Henry Schulman, along with reporting the Red Sox are insisting on more than Armando Benitez + an unidentified position player in exchange for Manny Being Manny, writes the Cubs have offered free agent P Jason Schmidt $44 million over 3 years.

With Randy Wolf moving to the Dodgers, the Phillies have signed P Adam Eaton to a 3 year, $24 million pact. Apparently, that’s the going rate for a hurler who has never won more than 11 games, and is coming off a short stint for Texas where he compiled an ERA of 5.12 (albiet in a hitter’s park).

It seems as though free agent C Rod Barajas flunked his physical in Toronto. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I’ve always had trouble with the coughing part.

OF David Dellucci, identified earlier this year by baseball expert Tom Hicks (above) as a paragon of toughness and leadership, has signed a 3-year, $11.5 million contract with Cleveland.