Mike Lowell is not a distraction

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Mike Lowell 2.jpgMichael Silverman of the Boston Herald tweeted this a couple of hours ago:

For any doubters about the Mike Lowell situation being a distraction, I’ve got two words for you: Already is.

Then he links the story he (apparently) wrote about Lowell in camp today.  If you can find anything that constitutes a “distraction” in these quotes you’re a closer reader than I am:

“I think I’m pretty intelligent in the sense that there’s no real
playing time for me here, basically, barring a major injury, and I’m
not really in the business of hoping someone gets hurt just so I get
at-bats. For me, I feel like I’m more prepared and ready for a full
season than I was last year, so why shouldn’t I play more than I did
last year? Whether it’s here or somewhere else, I can’t control that.

“I have to separate two things. There’s the baseball aspect of it
and the real-life aspect of it. I’m very comfortable where I am in my
real life. I feel like I’m in a tremendously privileged situation. No
one needs to feel sorry for me in life. Is my baseball situation not
ideal? Yeah, it’s not ideal, and I don’t want to diminish the baseball
fact, but you never know what can happen.

“If I was on the trading block before, I can’t imagine that all of a
sudden I’m not now. I think my health is something obviously need to
show not only the Red Sox, but every other team. If that opens a door
to something else, I’ll go wherever I go or stay wherever I stay.”

Distraction? Seems to me like Mike Lowell has a pretty realistic view of things and that the only one making a big deal out of this is Mike Silverman.

Of course, the use of the word “distraction” should have tipped us all off anyway.  Whenever a baseball writer uses that term it rarely means that there’s a real controversy afoot. Rather, it almost always means “I’m going to keep beating this dead horse until I can elicit a juicy quote out of someone and then say ‘AH HA!!’ look at that big, big distraction!”

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?