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.

Bruce Bochy announces he’s going to retire at the end of the season

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Bruce Bochy just told reporters at spring training in Scottsdale that he plans to retire following the 2019 season.

Bochy’s Giants are certainly in a transitional period right now. They aren’t calling it a rebuild in San Francisco, but it’s hard to see how what they’ve done this offseason and what sort of talent they have in house right now amounts to a contender. If there will be a more thorough restructuring or reshuffling or — gasp! — even a rebuilding, it’ll likely be a lengthy one. Bochy will turn 65 during the 2020 season and, after 25 years on the bench, he may simply not have the desire to put in the kind of time such a rebuild will take.

But what a 25 years it’s been.  He managed the Padres from 1995 through 2006 and took the Giants over in 2007. He led San Diego t the 1998 NL Pennant and has, obviously, led the Giants to three World Series titles, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. For his career he has a record of 1926-1944.

Given those three rings, however, he will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame at his first opportunity.