The Cardinals trade for Ryan Theriot

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The Cardinals just acquired Ryan Theriot from Dodgers in exchange for righty Blake Hawksworth.

On one the one hand: sure.  The Cardinals need some help on the infield, as Brendan Ryan was just atrocious this year.

On  the other hand: Theriot ain’t exactly an All-Star himself, and his OPS was only marginally higher than Ryan’s this year: .606 to .573.

Theriot, once upon a time, had some decent on base skills, but he hasn’t flashed that for a while now.  He’s versatile in that he can play multiple positions.  At the same time, he was a non-tender candidate for the Dodgers and now the Cardinals are going to have to give him a raise from the $2.6 million he was making, no?  This couldn’t have waited a week?

Hawksworth will be 28 next season. A swingman with two seasons under his belt, the most recent of which was nothing special (4.98 ERA in 45 appearances with blah peripherals).

I guess the ultimate verdict on this trade will come when we see how many starts Theriot gets. If he’s a utility guy who is used all over the field, great, he has some value. If La Russa sees him as some sort of veteran savior and gives him 500+ plate appearances, well, I can’t see that going well for St. Louis.

Cubs fans ought to get a pretty big kick out of it though.

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?