UPDATE: Apparently the interview went well, because Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Young has left the Red Sox and rejoined the A’s.
Jane Lee of MLB.com reported yesterday that Oakland is interested in rehiring pitching coach Curt Young after he left the A’s to take the same job with the Red Sox this season and sure enough according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe permission has been granted for an interview.
That seems like mostly just a formality, because presumably general manager Billy Beane and the rest of the A’s decision-makers know exactly how they feel about Young after he spent the previous seven seasons as Oakland’s pitching coach.
Toss in the fact that Young is friends with Bob Melvin, who took over as manager around midseason, and the writing is definitely on the wall for a reunion following one shaky year in Boston.
It’s also worth noting that Clay Buchholz didn’t exactly seem upset at the possibility of Young leaving when asked about the situation during a radio interview yesterday, explaining how much more laid back Young was compared to former pitching coach John Farrell and indicating that few pitchers on the staff went to Young for help.
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?