The 2018 baseball season has come to an end, which means free agency is officially underway. Teams may submit qualifying offers to their own free agents during the next five days. Beginning Friday evening, non-contracted players are free to sign wherever they choose.
The A's have a handful of key free agents, including All-Star second baseman Jed Lowrie, catcher Jonathan Lucroy, relief pitchers Shawn Kelley and Jeurys Familia, and starters Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson.
For now, let's focus on potential outside additions. We have compiled a list of the top five realistic free agents Oakland should target. (Spoiler alert: they're all pitchers.)
Improved starting pitching should be the top priority for the A's, and Eovaldi would be a great addition to the rotation. The 28-year-old helped the Red Sox to their World Series title, going 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 22 1/3 innings this postseason.
In 22 regular season outings, Eovaldi was 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The right-hander earned just $2 million, and while he figures to earn a significant raise, the A's shouldn't be scared off.
Eovaldi has a career ERA of 4.16 in seven seasons and is just entering his prime. With Sean Manaea out for most, if not all, of next season, and both Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk coming off Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi could slot in near the top of Oakland's rotation.
The Vallejo native is 38 years old but showed he still has something left in the tank, going 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts with the Yankees this season.
A six-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner, Sabathia earned $10 million in 2018, but is unlikely to see that type of money as he nears 39. The big left-hander might even take a hometown discount to play for the A's, especially since they figure to be a playoff contender.
Sabathia could provide a solid number three or four starter in Oakland's rotation, not to mention being a fan favorite at the Coliseum.
Despite missing time with a groin injury, Ryu had an excellent season with the Dodgers. The 31-year-old southpaw went 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 15 starts, striking out 89 in 82 1/3 innings.
Ryu earned $7.8 million in the final season of a six-year contract and should garner an even higher salary in free agency. But with his talent and consistency, as well as his relative youth, he would be worth it for the A's.
In five Major League seasons, Ryu has a 3.20 career ERA. If he were to end up in green and gold, he would likely challenge Mike Fiers for the top spot in the A's rotation.
The A's bullpen was terrific in 2018, but it will likely lose a couple of key pieces in Familia and Kelley. Chavez, a former A, went 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP this season between the Rangers and Cubs.
The 35-year-old has made a smooth transition from starter to reliever, notching 92 strikeouts this season, compared to just 17 walks.
Chavez earned $1.5 million and should be affordable for the A's. He could provide a nice sixth or seventh inning option for manager Bob Melvin.
The former Giant had a solid season in Tampa Bay, going 3-4 with 25 saves and a 4.14 earned run average.
Romo, 35, recorded 75 strikeouts against 20 walks in 67 1/3 innings. The veteran right-hander should also be affordable after earning $2.5 million in 2018.
Romo has already proven he can win in the Bay Area, capturing three World Series titles with the Giants. Oakland could certainly use his experience and versatility in the pen.