2012 Oakland Athletics Free Agents: Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui Could Be Impacted By Stadium Issue

Now that the 2011 World Series has come to a close, MLB free agency will get going Saturday evening at 9:01pm pacific. Players cannot begin to sign with new teams until Wednesday November 2 at 9:01pm pacific time, but they can begin filing Saturday evening. The process was delayed by 24 hours this year as part of the ongoing collective bargaining process between MLB and the MLB Players Association.

As the Oakland Athletics prepare for 2011 free agency, they are in a tough position due to the continually delayed nature of a new stadium. The A's have been trying to figure out new stadium plans for years and it remains in a perpetual delay at this point. The team has looked at San Jose but has to deal with the territorial rights of the San Francisco Giants.

As long as the team is delayed in getting a new stadium, their player budget will remain a question mark. The A's spent approximately $65 million last season, and it remains to be seen what that number will be for 2012. It could go up with a modest increment, or the team could further tighten up the purse strings while they figure out the stadium issue. This means they could find themselves struggling not only to land outside free agents, but even re-signing some of their own free agents.

Here are the A's free agents as we approach the start of free agency:

OF Coco Crisp
OF David DeJesus
RHP Rich Harden
OF/DH Hideki Matsui
OF Josh Willingham

While the A's try to figure out their internal free agency questions, they are in a position to potentially score some draft picks if some of these free agents walk. The fine folks at MLBTradeRumors.com put together a reverse-engineered look at the Elias Rankings used to determine compensation.

Based on their projections, Josh Willingham would be a Type-A free agent and David DeJesus is a Type-B free agent. The team has shown interest in re-signing both players, but if they were to walk, the A's would not end up empty-handed.

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