Strasburg likely to begin season in minors

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According to the Washington Post, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman hinted Sunday that Stephen Strasburg is likely to begin the 2010 season in the minor leagues.

The 2009 No. 1 overall pick threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Sunday.  He delivered 37 pitches, mostly fastballs, and apparently looked pretty sharp.  But, no matter how great he may look this spring, the Nats want to respect the process.  
“I wouldn’t really want to say that he’s competing for a spot in the rotation,” Riggleman said shortly after the workout.  “I think we’re open-minded, but… he could pitch real well down here, but we still might feel like the development, the process is to be respected of going through the system and getting really used to the rigors of throwing every fifth day [in the minor leagues].”

Strasburg will get the call sooner than later, and perhaps right around the time Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder) is ready to contribute.  The arrival of that duo should make for a nice midseason boost in Washington.

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?