Jimmy Rollins: the Phillies are still the better team

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Take it away Jimmy:

“They were the better team this series. Do I think we’re the better team? I really do. They just executed.”

Um, yeah.

Look, I wasn’t critical of Rollins’ prediction before the Series, because if I was the manager of a team I’d want my players to think they’re going to win. You don’t be cocky or disrespectful about it — and I don’t think Rollins was — but if someone asks you for a prediction, go ahead, say you’re going to win.

But after the fact? Whatever, Jimmy. We can argue all day long about who’s better on paper and whether winning a short series truly means you’re the “best” team and all of that (indeed, I’ve made that argument myself), but in this case Rollins has no leg to stand on:

The Yankees were a better team during the regular season.

The Yankees were the better team during the postseason.

The Yankees were the better team on paper.

The Yankees are the better team from a historical perspective.

Could the Phillies have won this series? Sure, anything can happen.  Are they a good team? Absolutely.  But if they had won it, it would have been an upset, and for anyone to say otherwise is pretty deluded.

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?