A's face three big questions entering 2018 MLB Winter Meetings

NBC Sports BayArea
The Hot Stove is set to boil this week in Las Vegas, and the A's should be busy filling out their roster.

A's face three big questions entering 2018 MLB Winter Meetings

The Hot Stove is set to boil this week in Las Vegas, and the A's should be busy filling out their roster.

A's face three big questions entering 2018 MLB Winter Meetings originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

Historically, the MLB Winter Meetings have been where baseball's offseason activity really starts to pick up.

The A's figure to be pretty active these next few days, as they still have some work to do to fill out next year's roster.

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Here's a look at the three biggest questions the A's must answer at the proceedings in Las Vegas:

1. Who will the A's add to fill out the starting rotation?

Starting pitching has to be the top priority for Oakland. After non-tendering Mike Fiers, the A's don't have a single starting pitcher from last year's end-of-season rotation under contract.

A's general manager David Forst addressed the situation Friday on a conference call: "There are a number of starting pitching options out there, both through free agency and trade conversations. ... We're dipping into free agency and trade conversations equally, so I think it will have to play out which route we go."

NBC Sports California has reported the A's have reached out to free agents Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz and Shelby Miller. If they elect to pursue the trade route instead, Yankees right-hander (and former A) Sonny Gray and Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray could be good options.

We should start getting answers this week.

2. Will the A's sign a second baseman or start Franklin Barreto?

Jed Lowrie is coming off a terrific season, earning a trip to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. But his return to Oakland is far from certain.

Lowrie might cost more than the A's are willing to spend on a 34-year-old second baseman, especially with top prospect Franklin Barreto waiting in the wings.

"I think it could go a number of ways," Forst said. "There are conversations internally about Franklin and what is best for him going forward. I think we're going to explore adding a second baseman, letting Franklin play, finding a platoon partner for him -- all of those things are on the table."

The second baseman market officially got going Thursday when the Twins signed Jonathan Schoop to a one-year, $7.5 million contract. Expect more dominoes to fall this week.

3. Who will be the A's starting catcher?

The A's already have re-signed Josh Phegley, but they still need a starting catcher. Last year's starter, Jonathan Lucroy, still figures to be an option, along with a few other free agents.

"We're trying to balance the internal options with going to bring someone from the outside," Forst said. "There are also trade possibilities there. But we certainly still believe it's an area that we need to address one way or the other."

Highly regarded prospect Sean Murphy is in line to be the A's catcher of the future, but the 24-year-old still is likely a year away from being MLB-ready. Oakland needs a catcher to hold down the position until then.

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