Center fielder is A's top priority at Meetings

Center fielder is A's top priority at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A's front-office members are scheduled for a Monday evening arrival at the Winter Meetings just outside Washington, at which point their search for a center fielder could be accelerated.

That's often the way things go when all general managers, along with a bevy of agents, are brought together in a single locale. This year, the setting is the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

The A's have already reeled in one outfielder in Matt Joyce, who can play both corners, but pinpointing an everyday center fielder for the 2017 season remains their top priority, followed by a veteran starter who can help stabilize a youthful rotation.

It's unclear, however, which route the A's will take to secure these pieces. This year's free-agent class features only so many options in Oakland's price range, and it's unlikely the club overspends in any area, particularly after learning it will be phased out of annual revenue-sharing checks under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This doesn't preclude them from making a big splash, though. The A's have several trade chips -- namely ace Sonny Gray -- that they could use at their disposal.

"There is sort of a formula here for this team to grow together, and I think we're looking to be patient with that process, but also listen to what opportunities may be out there," A's general manager David Forst said last week. "There's always a lot of trade conversations leading up to and at the Winter Meetings, and I don't expect that will be any different this year."

A's manager Bob Melvin is set to address the media on Wednesday morning.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.