Beane quietly busy during A's offseason
Oakland general manager looking to add pop to offense
OAKLAND -- Don't mistake the lack of news for inactivity within the A's executive offices.
On Friday, general manager Billy Beane told MLB.com that the playoffs simply provide teams that are idle in October the luxury of working under the radar.
"We're still busy," Beane said by phone from Ohio, where he's visiting his daughter, Casey. "You're just not under the microscope."
The Commissioner's Office requests that non-playoff teams refrain from making any major announcements during the postseason, and while the A's won't have any major announcements to make immediately after the informal information ban is lifted, Beane and his staff have been laying the groundwork for what figures to be a fairly active offseason.
"It's nice in that you don't need to give constant press updates. You're not the story of the day, so to speak," Beane said. "But you can get a lot done during this time. We kind of use this time to take care of a lot of internal things, like filling coaching vacancies we might have [in the Minors], and just setting yourself up for the rest of the offseason."
Beane, who started a massive rebuilding process in Oakland last offseason by trading away several star players in an effort to replenish the team's Minor League system, suggested that the process gave them a head start on planning for 2009.
Several of the prospects acquired since last winter made an impact at the big league level in 2008 -- including outfielder Ryan Sweeney, reliever Joey Devine and starting pitchers Greg Smith and Dana Eveland -- and several others got late-season opportunities with the A's.
"With what we've done, we've been able to have a lot of conversations internally about how to approach the winter long before the season even ended," Beane said. "It's been an ongoing process."
Beane reiterated his commitment to the process, but he also expressed his desire to add some punch to a team that finished last in the American League in several key offensive statistical categories in 2008.
"We really like the guys that we have, and we're pleased with the way a lot of them have developed, so I don't anticipate anything radical," he said. "At the same time, it's clear we need to bring in some offense, and without compromising the original plan, we'd like to bring in a guy or two who can help in the present and help the young guys continue to develop."
Beane said he's already had some conversations with other clubs, and he plans to explore the feasibility of acquiring a free agent or two.
"A lot of other teams are in the same situation we're in, doing a lot of in-house things right now," he said. "So you still have conversations, but not with the expectation that something's going to happen right away. ... Everything really starts to get busy as far as player movement right after the World Series, and then it runs all the way up to the holidays, which is when you get your first real break.
"We've got the GM meetings the first week of November, and then the Winter Meetings in early December, so this actually is our busiest time of the year."
Beane said he's kept a casual eye on the playoffs and got to see Boston's remarkable comeback against the Rays on Thursday night.
"When I got in last night and turned the TV on, the Red Sox were already down 7-0, so I just saw the good part -- or the bad part, depending on your perspective," he said with a laugh. "We're watching, but it's not something I plan my day around."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.