Exactly 12 years ago, the A's signed 38-year-old Mike Piazza to a one-year contract worth $8.5 million.
The future Hall of Famer performed well for Oakland, slashing .275/.313/.414 with eight home runs, 17 doubles, and 44 RBI in 83 games, primarily as a designated hitter. Unfortunately, Piazza missed two and a half months in the middle of the season with a shoulder injury.
The 2007 season ended up being the last one of Piazza's career. He retired with 427 career home runs, with a record 396 coming as a catcher.
The A's went 76-86 in Piazza's one season with the team, finishing third in the American League West. Piazza mostly batted cleanup, taking over the role Frank Thomas had filled the year before.
Billy Beane has made several of these types of signings over the years, bringing in stars near the end of their careers. The Piazza deal didn't work out as well as some of the other ones, Thomas included, but it wasn't a total failure either.
If Piazza had managed to stay healthy, he probably would have driven in close to 80 runs. The $8.5 million salary might have been a little high, but Piazza was coming off an excellent season with San Diego, where he slashed .283/.342/.501.
Spinning it forward to this offseason, there doesn't appear to be any Piazza-like veteran out there, maybe with the exception of Bartolo Colón, who might play until he's 100 years old. Yes, the A's do need starting pitching, but don't count on seeing the big 45-year-old back in green and gold.