Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee need a nickname

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At least John McGrath of the Tacoma News-Tribune thinks they do. He starts with a couple of ideas:

Is anybody pondering a nickname for the Mariners’ one-two punch?
Hmmn. If Hernandez is “King Felix,” his counterpart should also own a
title of distinction, something along the line of, say, “General Lee.”

King
Felix and General Lee. I can see that poster on a kid’s wall, with
Hernandez wearing a crown and Lee dressed up in a 19th-century military
uniform . . . Of
course, there’s always the standard “Fire and Ice,” with Hernandez
appointed as the Fire and Lee as the Ice. That wouldn’t be a stretch:
Felix is animated on the mound, while Lee is a low-key type who keeps
his cool.

Blah. General Lee suffers from two problems: (1) you go putting someone in a CSA army uniform in this day and age and someone is gonna start complaining; and (2) it’s so, so taken.

I’m also no fan of “Fire and Ice,” because I’ll forever associate that with Bucky and Lee from “The Black Dahlia,” and that book rules so hard that I’m not going to let some random six-runs-in-five-innings outing risk ruining the association for me.

The biggest problem with this is that you can’t go applying nicknames so early in the process.  Nicknames need some time to germinate and to grow. You can’t just pick them out in January all willy-nilly.  Sure, if nothing reveals itself for Lee and Hernandez by, say, Mother’s Day we can think harder about this. But for now let’s just use a placeholder.

Clifflix.

There. That’s done.  What’s next on the agenda?

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?