A year ago, the A's believed that a few tweaks to their offense could make them a true contender in the American League West.
They added David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham . . . and won seven fewer games than they did the year before, finishing 13 games farther behind the champion Rangers.
Winning is going to take more than a few tweaks, especially with the continuing uncertainty about a new stadium, and the A's now realize that. And that's why general manager Billy Beane's strategy this winter is different.
It's also why closer Andrew Bailey could be on his way out of town.
While there has been talk of the A's trading starter Gio Gonzalez, Bailey is actually the A's pitcher most likely to move, sources said Monday. Bailey attracted interest from the Blue Jays and Phillies (before they signed Jonathan Papelbon) earlier this winter, and ESPN.com reported Monday that the Reds are now interested, as well.
The A's, no surprise, are looking for offense in return, preferably young, cheap offense.
Beane is said to be willing to talk about almost any of his players, but he is still holding out some hope of signing Gonzalez to a long-term contract, according to sources. Gonzalez could still be moved this winter, or the A's could hold onto him and possibly try to deal him next summer.
Bailey is a 27-year-old two-time All-Star who went 24-for-26 in save situations in 2011. He's entering his first arbitration year, so he's still relatively cost-effective.