OAKLAND -- The A's finally made some noise in October, and that means their November, December and January might be rather quiet.

General manager Billy Beane said Friday that he sees the bulk of this year's American League West championship team returning in 2013.

Speaking a day after the A's were knocked out of the postseason by Detroit, Beane said he thinks the foundation is in place to build on a surprising 94-win season.

"I think we're in great shape," Beane said. "The satisfying thing about the crowd's response to this team (Thursday) night was they're also going to get to see this team, by and large, next year. If there's moves made, the idea would be additions.

"I've had situations where we had great seasons and I knew the team wasn't going to be back because of free agency and things like that. (The goal) is to try and continue the momentum in the winter. We should be able to build on this next year."

Surely that is welcome news to fans who have grown weary of the A's heavy roster turnovers of recent winters.

Many of the rookies brought in last offseason blossomed quicker than expected, helping the A's overcome predictions of a 100-loss season and topple the two-time division champion Texas Rangers.

Thirteen of the 25 players who were on the A's postseason roster have less than three years' service time and aren't eligible for arbitration, meaning they will make somewhere around the major league minimum of $480,000 next season.


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That group includes core players such as starting pitchers Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone, right fielder Josh Reddick and relievers Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.

"Looking at last year, we had some established All-Stars that were traded," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I don't think we're going to trade Ryan Cook. We control him, and he's not making a whole lot at this point. I think it's a different dynamic this year with what we would do as an organization."

The A's still have decisions to make, and one of the biggest is whether to bring back shortstop Stephen Drew. He and the A's hold a $10 million mutual option for next season, a steep price for a team that had a total payroll of $55.37 million in 2012.

Drew, acquired from Arizona on Aug. 20, played very good defense for the A's and hit .250 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 39 games. Melvin felt that when the A's acquired Drew, he still was working his way back from a broken ankle that sidelined him for the first three months of the season.

"It'd be intriguing to see what he can do when he comes in fully healthy," Beane said.

The A's could decline their part of the option and try to re-sign him to a smaller free-agent deal. But Drew is represented by agent Scott Boras, who is not known for seeking bargain deals for his clients.

Considering that the A's defied expectations so greatly, it is fair to ask whether they caught lightning in a bottle or if they can continue to develop and make it past the A.L. Divisional Series.

Can Brandon Moss and Chris Carter, for example, be penciled in to combine for 37 homers again as a first-base platoon?

Beane points to the progress Parker and Milone made with just one full season of experience. He also believes rookie catcher Derek Norris will improve.

Melvin said "the sky is literally the limit" for left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.

"The pieces are here to carry this forward," Melvin said, "and the expectations should be higher next year because of it."

Beane and Melvin said trying to re-sign outfielder Jonny Gomes is a priority. Gomes hit 18 homers in a part-time role but was valued even more for his clubhouse leadership.

Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, entering free agency for the first time, expressed a desire to return. He said the sensitivity the A's showed him after he underwent brain surgery when he was struck by a line drive reinforced that desire. McCarthy expects to be at full strength by spring training.

Beane thinks closer Grant Balfour, who converted 18 straight save opportunities to finish the season, proved he is an answer for the ninth inning. The A's hold a $4.5 million option on Balfour with a $350,000 buyout.

Beane also had nothing but praise for Melvin in his first full season as manager.

"I think Buck Showalter has done a phenomenal job (with Baltimore)," Beane said, "but I can't imagine anyone other than Bob Melvin being Manager of the Year. I would be baffled."

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  • RE-SIGN STEPHEN DREW? Drew is a smooth defender and found his batting stroke toward the end of the season. If he leaves, the A's probably would pursue a shortstop outside the organization or return Cliff Pennington to shortstop from second base.
  • CLUBHOUSE CHEMISTRY? The A's had a great clubhouse vibe, and re-signing outfielder Jonny Gomes would be a step toward retaining that. Manager Bob Melvin and G.M. Billy Beane want him back, but Gomes would like more than the 279 at-bats he got this season.
  • VETERAN PITCHING? Rookies Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker emerged as major contributors, and fellow rookies A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily showed promise. But the A's may want to consider adding an experienced arm or two. They could re-sign Brandon McCarthy, who expects to be at full strength by spring training after undergoing brain surgery.
  • POWER BAT? Yoenis Cespedes is a bona fide power hitter, but Josh Reddick's late-season struggles showed he might not be the answer in the No. 3 spot. If the A's aren't sold on the Brandon Moss/Chris Carter combo, they could look for a first baseman.