Athletics' Vision For Future Hinges On Home Base





OAKLAND—A season of frustration ended with a future in flux, and general manager Billy Beane attempted to prepare for the Athletics' next phase.

In Beane's postseason press conference, he indicated that what happens will depend on whether the A's will be granted the right to move the franchise 40 miles south to San Jose, where a new stadium would be built.

Oakland has waited more than years for the commissioner's office to either support the move or enforce the Giants' claim that San Jose is part of their territory. Beane said he expects a decision soon, though he could not define when soon would be.

Should the A's be granted the right to move, then the organization will emphasize the draft and international talent as it works toward the new park's opening in 2014 or 2015.

If the A's are locked in Oakland, they may choose to build a more competitive team for the immediate future by targeting veteran talent. Such a direction could also make the franchise more appealing to potential buyers.

These decisions loom as Oakland desperately seeks to produce middle-of-the-order hitters, but top candidates like right fielder Michael Taylor and first baseman Chris Carter have not asserted themselves, batting a combined 12-for-74 (.162) in Oakland this season.

Acquired in a trade with the Diamondbacks, first baseman Brandon Allen slugged three home runs in his first two weeks in Oakland, but he went into a tailspin afterward, batting .128 with no homers in his final 27 games.

The organization's run of first-round picks from 2008 through 2010—Jemile Weeks, Grant Green and Michael Choice—offered varying degrees of hope for the future.

Weeks, a second baseman, worked hard to rebuild his body after myriad injuries, and he spent four months with Oakland, batting .303/.340/.421 in 406 at-bats with 22 stolen bases.

Green moved from shortstop to center field midway through the season with Double-A Midland. He may wind up profiling best in left field, a position with much competition.

Choice hit 30 homers for high Class A Stockton and shows promise as a center fielder, but he remains far away.

A's ACORNS

• Center fielder Jermaine Mitchell had knee surgery in late September. The A's were hopeful he would be ready for spring training because he could be in the mix for a big league job.

• Righty Colin O'Connell, an eighth-round pick from Cal State Fullerton who signed late and did not play, encountered a bout of tendinitis at instructional league that cut the session short.