The SF Chronicle’s Steve Slusser reports that A’s GM Billy Beane claims there are no plans to trade any of the club’s 3 aces.
Reports in New York and Boston have linked the Yankees and Red Sox with Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and, especially, Tim Hudson, who will be a free agent after next season.
“Absolutely false,” said A’s general manager Billy Beane, who was en route to assistant GM David Forst’s wedding this weekend in Boston. “Those things are all rumors and that’s the way they should be treated. I haven’t had any discussions (about trades) and we haven’t even thought about it.”
More speculation shot down by Beane: Reports that Oakland will swap reliever Arthur Rhodes for Colorado catcher Charles Johnson, something that was discussed last summer but according to both Beane and a source in Denver, have not been resurrected. Beane said the A’s will look to fill their catching needs via the free-agent market.
“Right now, that’s our first option,” he said.
One target to emerge from the pack of free-agent catchers: Gregg Zaun. The A’s already have spoken with Zaun’s agent, Dan Horwits.
“We have talked a couple of times,” Horwits said. “We can’t do anything until next week (Thursday, when teams’ exclusive rights to negotiate with their own free agents end) but there is mutual interest there.”
Zaun, 33, hit .269 with six homers and 36 RBIs in 107 games for Toronto last year. He’s a switch-hitter, like current Oakland backup Adam Melhuse, but hit better against left-handers (.272) than righties (.268), which is what the A’s are looking for with their left-handed heavy lineup.
Beane doesn’t anticipate that there will be a great deal of action at the GM meetings. Still, those Big Three rumblings are likely to be heard all winter, because of Hudson’s contract status (according to Beane, the A’s still would like to sign him to a multi-year extension) and because the Yankees need a starter, and Oakland has three of the best.
“My thoughts going into (the meetings) are that I’m very happy with the Big Three,” Beane said. “This rumor stuff is so out of control it’s ridiculous.”
One report in New York had the Yankees offering catcher Jorge Posada for Hudson, which makes people with the A’s chuckle, because Posada will earn almost $30 million in the next two seasons. The main reason Oakland is looking for a catcher is because Damian Miller’s $3 million per year is out of the A’s price range. One member of the organization suggested that if such a deal were to be proposed, the A’s would be better off giving that $30 million to Hudson for an extension.