According to the Oakland Tribune:
Oakland's deal for jack-of-all-trades hitter Jake Fox in advance of the winter meetings probably wasn't good news for another Jack — slugging designated hitter Jack Cust.
If the A's do nothing else in Indianapolis this week, they will be making a decision on Cust, their leading home run hitter the past three seasons. Most signs point to their not tendering an arbitration offer to Cust before Saturday's deadline, meaning the A's wouldn't get draft compensation if he signed elsewhere.
Cust, who'll turn 31 on Jan. 16, made $2.8 million in his first arbitration year last season and figures to command between $4-5 million in 2010, even though his production numbers slipped slightly in 2009 (27 homers, 70 RBI, 185 strikeouts). While it might seem strange the power-starved A's would part with Cust, they have myriad options that might not require such a sizable investment.
What's more, the A's still have a shot at trading Cust this week instead of nontendering him. The New York Mets and Seattle Mariners reportedly might be interested.
A's general manager Billy Beane wouldn't tip his hand on Cust last week.
"We've still got some time to decide, and that's certainly a matter of in-house conversation right now," Beane said. "The decision has yet to be made on Jack, and no doubt, it's 1 of the bigger ones we have to make in the next week or so."
...if the Mets are able to get this fellow without giving up draft picks, then hallellujah...