A's make play for free agent Erstad

A's make play for free agent Erstad

OAKLAND -- The A's have made a one-year contract offer to free-agent first baseman/outfielder Darin Erstad, MLB.com learned on Friday afternoon.

Oakland assistant general manager David Forst did not disclose financial details of the offer but confirmed that the club presented it last week to Erstad's agent, Greg Genske, and Forst was hoping to hear back from Genske by the end of this week.

"We know some other teams have expressed interest," Forst said, "but we don't have any idea how many offers have been made."

Erstad, 32, was limited by an injury to his right ankle in 2006 and batted .221 in 40 games with the Angels. He had successful surgery on the ankle in early October and recently told the Los Angeles Times that six teams had expressed an interest in signing him.

A two-time All-Star who broke into the big leagues with the Angels in 1996, Erstad was an American League Gold Glove winner in the outfield in 2000 and 2002, and in 2004, he won a Gold Glove as a first baseman. The 11-year veteran's career batting average is .286, with his best season coming in 2000, when he batted .335 with 25 homers, 100 RBIs and a .409 on-base percentage.

Forst suggested Erstad's versatility is a big part of his appeal to the A's, who lost outfielder Jay Payton to free agency this winter. If Oakland doesn't land Erstad or trade for an outfielder, it's expected that third-year first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher will start in left field with Dan Johnson reclaiming the starting job at first.

"He's a Gold Glove outfielder and a Gold Glove first baseman, so having someone like Darin would obviously give us a lot of flexibility in the lineup," Forst said.

Erstad was the Angels' primary left fielder when he won his first Gold Glove and has appeared in left field in 260 of his 1,340 big-league games. His 2002 Gold Glove came after he spent the bulk of that season in center, and he took over as the Angels' starting first baseman in 2004.

Known for his hard-nosed style of play, Erstad helped the Angels beat the Giants in the 2002 World Series and caught the final out of Game 7 in Anaheim. He's played in six postseason series, batting .339 (40-for-118) with nine doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs in 29 games.

Genske was traveling on Friday afternoon and could not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment on the possibility of his client joining the Angels' AL West rivals.

Erstad's 2006 salary was $8.75 million.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.