A headline like that suggests that there’s something juicy there. More juicy than the rumored displeasure Greenberg’s seemingly over-the-top courting of Cliff Lee was following the Winter Meetings, which was cited back when Greenberg stepped down.
Actually, no: as Barry Shlachter reports in the Star-Telegram, it was really just a matter of personality clashes between Greenberg, Ryan and Jon Daniels, combined with Greenberg’s failure to make some meetings with advertisers during spring training. Added to it: Greenberg’s highest and best uses — navigating the team through the bankruptcy and sale drama last year and then securing the big TV deal they just got — are now in the rear view mirror, and that his personality just doesn’t mesh with those who are tasked with the more day-to-day aspects of running a team.
I kind of hope none of this is true, actually. It would be way better if there was a scandal or high drama involved because that kind of stuff is fun. Sadly, however, it seems we don’t have it.
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?