Friday's Quick Hits

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– Fernando Martinez was sent back down to Triple-A by the Mets after hitting .194/.286/.274 in 62 at-bats over 18 games.

Once it was determined that Gary Sheffield’s knees were good enough
to allow him to return to left field, it was expected that Martinez
would be sent down, though the thinking was that the Mets would wait
until Angel Pagan was ready to come off the DL. Instead, they’ve called
up Nick Evans to serve as a bench player for now. Martinez didn’t have
any notable hustling issues after getting himself into trouble
initially, and while he never homered in his 62 at-bats, he also didn’t
seem overmatched while striking out just 10 times. In all, his debut
went about as should have been expected.

– The Yankees have chosen to rest Alex Rodriguez for two games following an 0-for-15 slump.

Not sure I agree with this. The Yankees just ended another
homestand, and getting A-Rod out of new Yankee Stadium should help his
hitting woes. It seemed like he was trying to hit one over the
extremely inviting walls with every swing lately, and he was just
6-for- 51 in the Bronx this month. While eight of his nine homers have
come at Yankee Stadium, he’s had a better approach on the road, hitting
.254/.389/.373 in 59 at-bats to date. At home, he’s hit .178/.355/.534.

– Reds prospect Yonder Alonso, the seventh overall pick in the 2008
draft, was placed on the minor league DL with a broken hamate bone.

Alonso was hitting .246/.309/.377 in 16 games since moving up to
Double-A Carolina. Before that, he was hitting .302/.378/.503 in 169
at-bats for Single-A Sarasota. Alonso should be ready to play again in
4-6 weeks, but players who suffer broken hamate bones tend to suffer
from power outages for months after returning. There wasn’t much chance
that we’d see him in September anyway.

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?