Angels general manager Tony Reagins was asked about his catching surplus by Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com and he didn’t shoot down the possibility of making a trade:
“You never close your mind to any potential deal that will make you
better,” Angels general manager Tony Reagins said.
Though Mike Napoli started behind the dish on Saturday afternoon against the Blue Jays, Jeff Mathis has started nine of the first 13 games to begin the season. Bobby Wilson is also on the 25-man roster, however that’s mainly because he is out of options. He has just one at-bat so far this year.
There’s an obvious crunch behind the plate, leading Buster Olney of ESPN.com to a possible solution, via Brian McPherson of the Providence Journal.
At a time when the Red Sox are looking for a strong defensive
catcher, the Angels and Boston would seem to have a possible trade match
on Jeff Mathis. Boston would obviously have to have at least one good
prospect in the deal, and you wonder if the two sides could also find a
way to work Mike Lowell into the conversation, given the Angels’ growing
issue at third base.
Again, that’s all speculation, and we don’t even know if Mike
Scioscia would ever consider trading Mathis, who has been playing in
front of Mike Napoli so much that Napoli met with his manager. It’s hard
to imagine that Boston would be interested in Mike Napoli, because the
Red Sox already have a catcher who is a better hitter than defender in
Victor Martinez; Boston’s preference for their next catcher will be
someone who can slow opposing base-stealers.
Jason Varitek allowed four stolen bases on Friday night, but for now, the Red Sox have told the pitchers to focus on the hitters instead of worrying about holding baserunners. Besides, three catchers aren’t a luxury the Red Sox can afford if they can’t find someone to take on Mike Lowell. Olney presents an interesting solution, but such a perfect scenario is unlikely to materialize.
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).
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?