Wait, we’re judging the Dodgers-Red Sox trade now? Really?

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Dancing on the Dodgers’ grave, from the San Francisco Business Times:

The Dodgers’ Big Trade has been a bust — and that is good news for the Giants and baseball in general.  The Big Trade that the Dodgers pulled off Aug. 26 loaded that team with hot shot players Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford and $260 million in additional salary.

It was designed to propel the Dodgers to win the National League West and, ultimately, the World Series. “We want to win now,” said Dodger co-owner Magic Johnson. But since that Saturday in August the Dodgers have played worse, winning 10 of 26 games for a .384 winning percentage. That compares to the club’s pre-trade .543 winning percentage.

The lesson, according to the writer, is that sometimes money just doesn’t buy wins.

Which, sure, I’ll grant that. Just ask the Marlins as they cry and the Athletics as they laugh.  But is it not way too early to say anything super intelligent in that regard about the Dodgers-Red Sox trade?

Part of that trade is Carl Crawford, who has not played a game this season. A fact which was known would be the case at the time of the trade. Meanwhile, Adrian Gonzalez is under contract through 2018 and Josh Beckett through 2014.

I’ll grant that this will be a bust of a trade if Gonzalez doesn’t rediscover his mojo, if Beckett turns into a tomato can and if Crawford comes back a shell of his former self.  But no matter what Magic Johnson says, this was not solely a “win in 2012” kind of deal. This was a deal for both the short and the long term.

As such, declaring it a bust for the Dodgers and drawing any larger conclusions from it about whether one can buy wins is way premature. And, from a writer for a San Francisco publication, a somewhat curious angle to take at the moment.

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?