Dallas Braden hasn’t pitched in a major league game since April 16, 2011. And now his absence will stretch into the 2013 campaign.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Athletics manager Bob Melvin said this afternoon that Braden will undergo a second surgery on his left shoulder.
Braden has been sidelined all season following surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule muscle in his left shoulder last May. The 29-year-old left-hander was still hoping to return in September as of a month ago, but his shoulder simply hasn’t responded as hoped. Melvin said that he’s set for “exploratory” surgery, so the extent of the damage isn’t yet known.
Braden owns a 4.16 ERA over parts of five seasons in the majors. He had a 3.50 ERA over 30 starts with the Athletics in 2010, a season highlighted by his perfect game against the Rays on Mother’s Day.
Braden is under team control through 2013, but it’s worth noting that he earned $3.35 million this season in arbitration. Given his shoulder issues, it could be a tough call to tender him a contract this winter.
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?