After years of being a seller, A’s GM Billy Beane spent the winter of 2008-09 in the uncharacteristic role of buyer, adding OF Matt Holliday (via trade) and 1B/DH Jason Giambi (via free agency).

At this time last winter I wrote the moves “(had) placed the organization in a position where it can either compete for the division title or, if the team is non-competitive in mid...

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