A's Notes: Brown The "Right" Choice

To fill their need for a right-handed hitter who can play left or center, the A's signed free agent Emil Brown to a deal that could include up to $1.5 million in performance bonuses.

Emil Brown hit only .257 last season in his third year in Kansas City but led the team with 62 RBI. Nevertheless, the Royals decided to non-tender him, making him a free agent.

After trading Nick Swisher, the A's have Mark Kotsay in center (he could be on the move, however, if a reported deal for Joey Devine of Atlanta goes through) and second-year player Travis Buck in right. Youngsters Chris Denorfia, Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney are in the mix, too, and Todd Linden will be in camp on a minor league deal. Denorfia and Linden (a switch-hitter) are the only right-handed hitters in this group besides Brown.

The team had discussions with Mike Cameron's representatives before he agreed to terms with Milwaukee. Although there is no substance to the rumors that have resurfaced about Oakland picking up Coco Crisp from the Red Sox in exchange for Huston Street ("Fiction," one A's source said), there is no doubt that Boston has tried to move Crisp.

Why did the A's choose Brown? Because the only other prominent right-handed hitting outfielders on the free agent market are Rondell White, Reggie Sanders and Kevin Mench, and White and Sanders have major injury questions.

Perhaps the best fit of all on the market is the guy the A's just had, Shannon Stewart, but Stewart is expected to sign a multi-year deal closer to his home on the East Coast.

News And Notes
--RHP Justin Duchscherer, who was arbitration-eligible, was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million -- and he might make a lot more next year if he comes back healthy and successfully joins the Oakland rotation, as planned. Duchscherer is coming off surgery to repair a torn hip labrum, but he's expected to be close to ready at the start of the season.

--Oakland made headlines by closing the third deck before the 2006 season, but now three sections of the upper deck will be reopened. The A's are providing a $35 all-you-can-eat ticket option that will be located in the upper level.

--RHP Arnold Leon, the 19-year-old the A's signed to a six-figure deal this winter, went 6-0 for Culiacan in the Mexican winter league regular season. He allowed only one earned run in his final eight outings. He made two scoreless playoff appearances, striking out three in two innings.

--RHP Santiago Casilla made six appearances for Escogido in the Dominican Republic this winter and allowed only two hits in six scoreless innings. He struck out five.

--One day after trading Nick Swisher to the White Sox, A's GM Billy Beane welcomed two new additions: His wife, Tara, gave birth to twins, a boy, Brayden, and a girl, Tinsley.

BY THE NUMBERS: 163 -- Combined 2007 run total for Nick Swisher and Shannon Stewart, the team's top two in that category last year.

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