The Oakland Athletics are up to their old tricks of headlining the off-season’s signings. This time, Edwin Encarnacion is the new bat in their lineup.

Billy Beane had said he wanted to address the lack of power in the lineup and, as of last weekend, he’s done just that.

While Encarnacion is by no stretch the missing link that the A’s need, he’s certainly a step in that direction.

Only batting .244 last season, it’s not the average the Athletics are gaining. It’s the 21 home runs, which would have led the club last year (Kouzmanoff had only 17). 

Oakland now has two viable options for third base after picking up Edwin off the Blue Jays waiver wire. The next question is, who will be offered up should the rumored bargaining of Adrian Beltre, Hideki Matsui and Lance Berkman have any truth to it?

According to local newspapers, the players mentioned were all contacted by Oakland during last years off-season festivities. This would simply be round two.

Personally, I’d like to see Hideki Matsui in the green and gold, but his age and future productivity is certainly an issue. Beltre looks the best on paper from last year and Berkman could have the best year of all three of these players. It’s pretty much a toss up.

If it’s Beltre, then Kouz and/or Encarnacion will be discarded to make space. Matsui would be a nice addition and could possibly settle in as the designated hitter. Berkman would also be a great addition to the line-up.

For now, the A’s will ponder their targeted players and await phone calls regarding the many strong armed pitchers that reside in the bullpen. Beane has mentioned that the big four will not be offered in a trade, but after the acquisition of DeJesus from the Royals, Rajai Davis looks to be next in line to catch a flight out of Oakland. Kouzmanoff is not far behind.

Oakland desperately needs a modern day Frank Thomas. The pitching is locked in and the defense is always improving. In a lot of ways, the Athletics are setting themselves us to be a competitive opponent in the AL West.

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