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The Oakland Athletics haven't been a playoff threat in a few years now, and the heat might be starting to get to thrifty general manager Billy Beane.
He decided to get more active than usual this offseason, bringing in Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, David DeJesus, Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour. He also didn't lose much on the free agent market or through trades.
The decision to bring in Fuentes and Balfour was opportunistic and should make Oakland's bullpen very tough on the back end. Putting those two guys around Andrew Bailey is going to help the A's win virtually every game they lead going into the late innings.
To Beane's credit, he made a serious run at both Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman but couldn't reel in either of them. Beltre would have been a nice addition, but I think the A's are better off without Berkman.
Oakland also brought in pitcher Rich Harden, who began his career in the Bay Area. He is a low-risk, high reward acquisition, and the Athletics are hopeful he can give them a bunch of six inning, two runs or less type starts.
The Athletics have to be thrilled that Cliff Lee is now in Philadelphia instead of Texas, meaning the division is much more wide open. This is the first time in a few years where they might have a chance at winning the American League West.
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