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Oakland was last in the major leagues with a .242 batting average and last in the AL with 646 runs. The A's also used eight starters in left field, so Holliday provides stability in that spot.
"First of all, we needed to upgrade our offense. That was obvious," Beane said. "Matt fills a much-needed spot in the order."
Holliday joins a roster featuring six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez, who is expected to come back healthy from shoulder surgery. The team recently re-signed second baseman Mark Ellis and shortstop Bobby Crosby. Cust batted .231 with a team-leading 33 home runs and 77 RBIs while drawing 111 walks in 2008.
"It's caused a lot of attention around these parts, the fact we got a big guy the Yankees wanted and a lot of other teams wanted," Cu
"The last couple years we've had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys not doing as well as they'd like," he added. "They say hitting is contagious and I believe that. Once you get guys rolling and get the pitcher worrying about a few guys, they've got to really bear down in the middle of the lineup. I played with Matt in Colorado. We were in the minor leagues together and now we'll be in the big leagues together, so it's come full circle."
The 24-year-old Smith had elbow surgery last month. He went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA in 32 starts and 190 2-3 innings during his first major league season.
The 25-year-old Street was demoted from his closer role last season and finished 7-5 with a 3.73 ERA and 18 saves in 25 chances. He joins a bullpen that includes Manny Corpas but is expected to lose closer Brian Fuentes in free agency. Street can become a free agent after the 2010 season.
Like Smith, the 23-year-old Gonzalez just finished his first big league season. He hit .242 with four homers and 26 RBIs in 302 at-bats.
Smith and Gonzalez, considered a top prospect, both came to the A's last offseason in the blockbuster trade that sent ace Dan Haren to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Also Wednesday, the A's claimed infielder Yung Chi Chen off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. He played last season at Triple-A Tacoma, batting .249 with three homers and 25 RBIs in 69 games but was placed on the disabled list June 26 with torn meniscus in his right knee and sat out the rest of the year.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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