Melvin maintaining hope for Drew, Gomes

November 14, 2012, 8:43 pm
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Programming note: The Final Cut: 2012 Oakland A's, the story of Oaklands incredible 2012 season, debuts tonight, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California!

OAKLAND -- A's pitchers and catchers report spring training on Feb. 11, and if that were tomorrow, manager Bob Melvin wouldn't have a problem with it.

"I'm thrilled to death about the team we have here," Melvin said after conducting a press conference as 2012 AL Manager of the Year. "But we have a propensity to make some moves to make our team better."

Indeed, the A's front office still has close to 90 days to add new toys before the team reconvenes in Arizona.

Melvin spoke specifically about three players Wednesday, updating their standing with the team.

Stephen Drew:

The A's declined Stephen Drew's 10-million option for 2014, but it's still possible he returns to man shortstop for Oakland in 2013.

Owner of a 1.35-million buyout, Drew is a free agent with the ability to test the market.

"We hope he comes back," Melvin said. "At the end of the day it comes down to what he wants to do -- whether or not he wants a long-term deal or to be closer to his home."

The A's acquired Drew from the Diamondbacks in August for minor league shortstop Sean Jamieson. Drew hit .250 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 39 games with the A's.

Oakland has a hole to fill at shortstop after they traded away Cliff Pennington in acquiring Chris Young.

There are no free agent shortstops ranked higher than Drew, but Japan's Hiroyuki Nakajima, Alex Gonzalez and Jason Bartlett are all unemployed.

With significant outfield and pitching depth, it's also possible the A's trade for their next shortstop.

Jonny Gomes:

Jonny Gomes was not an every-day starter for the A's in 2012, but his impact was apparent in the clubhouse and on the field. His recognition with the 2012 Jim "Catfish" Hunter Award was evidence enough.

Melvin acknowledged the A's made Gomes an offer, but that the 10-year veteran elected to test the free agent market after the expiration of his one-year, 1 million deal.

"He probably has a bunch of people bidding on him right now," Melvin said.

It spurred the A's into a deal that landed them another All-Star center fielder in Chris Young.

NEWS: A's acquire Chris Young

Young joins Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick to comprise a deep and talented outfield. It seems to leave no place for Gomes, but the manager wasn't ready to concede his departure.

"You never know," Melvin said. "And I'd like to keep that hope alive because of what he meant to this team last year."

Bartolo Colon:

Bartolo Colon already inked his one-year, 3 million contract to return to the A's next season.

NEWS: Colon returning for 2013

And although he has five games remaining on his 50-game suspension and will turn 40 early next season, the decision was obvious to the A's for one reason.

"He's a strike-throwing machine," Melvin said of the veteran.

Another reason is Colon's flexibility. His contract, reportedly laden with 2 million in potential incentives, also contains language that leaves the bullpen door open.

"The focus is to bring him in as a starter," Melvin assured, "but we're keeping our options open."

Colon went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for the A's in 2012 and led the team in innings pitched at the time of his suspension.

Aside from Colon, the A's staff features only Brett Anderson with significant MLB experience. Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and other options like Dan Straily and Travis Blackley were all rookies a year ago, so Colon's 15 years of MLB service are welcome -- in the rotation or 'pen.

Melvin was sure that Colon's PED-induced suspension would be forgottenamongA's fans.

"This is a true gentleman and a great guy," Melvin said. "He'll be embraced here again."

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