A’s GM Billy Beane set to exit winter meetings without an outfielder

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Billy Beane never sticks around until the end of the winter meetings, and this year won’t be any different, even though he could be looking at an outfield of Jermaine Mitchell, Jai Miller and Ryan Sweeney if the season started tomorrow.

MLB.com’s Jane Lee points out that Beane is leaving Dallas tonight without the A’s having made a move. Assistant GM David Forst will lead the way until the winter meetings conclude Thursday.

With Oakland’s entire starting outfield of Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp and David DeJesus having filed for free agency, the lone outfielders left on the team’s 40-man roster after Mitchell, Miller, Sweeney and Michael Taylor. Sweeney is the only one of the bunch to have done anything in the majors, and he’s struggled to establish himself as more than a fourth outfielder.

The A’s will seek outfield help in trade talks, but they’ll likely end up bargain hunting later this winter. J.D. Drew, Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Ludwick and Mike Cameron are some of the veteran outfielders staring down paycuts this winter.

There is help on the way beyond 2012. Converted shortstop Grant Green and fellow former first-round pick Michael Choice rank among the team’s best prospects. Green could factor into the center field mix as next season progresses, and Choice might be an option come 2013.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.