We have plenty of roster decisions pouring in from Arizona and Florida today. Here’s one of the more interesting ones.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, 24-year-old right-hander Andrew Cashner has won the final spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation.
Carlos Silva entered spring training as the self-proclaimed favorite, but he pitched his way out of the job by putting up an ugly 10.90 ERA over 17 1/3 Cactus League innings. Cashner, on the other hand, posted a 3.97 ERA and 6/7 K/BB ratio over 11 1/3 innings.
The former 2008 first-round pick compiled a 4.80 ERA and 50/30 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings out of the bullpen last season. It’s a bit surprising to see Cashner win the job outright, but he’s the future and well, Silva is not.
The Cubs ultimately decided to carry rookie right-hander Carlos Mateo in their bullpen, which means Silva won’t even make the Opening Day roster.
“I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there’s an injury between now and Opening Day,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs.”
Silva will be a tough sell since he’s due to make $11.5 million this season, a portion of which is being paid by the Mariners. According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Silva said there’s “no chance” that he’ll accept a minor league assignment. He also took a shot at new Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins on the way out the door. Classy.
Some team will likely take a chance on Silva once he’s available at the league minimum — remember, he posted a 4.22 ERA and 80/24 K/BB ratio over 113 innings last season — but he sounds like more trouble than he’s worth right now.
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?