The Silver Slugger Awards are announced

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This year’s Silver Slugger Award winners are being unveiled tonight during a one-hour special on MLB Network.

The Silver Slugger Award is given annually to the best offensive player at each position in the American League and National League and is voted on by coaches and managers. We’ll run the winners down here as they are announced.

American League

Third base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Josh Willingham, Twins

Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox

First base: Prince Fielder, Tigers

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees

Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees

Designated hitter: Billy Butler, Royals

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National League

Third base: Chase Headley, Padres

Outfield: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; Jay Bruce, Reds; Ryan Braun, Brewers

Catcher: Buster Posey, Giants

First base: Adam LaRoche, Nationals

Shortstop: Ian Desmond, Nationals

Second base: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks

Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

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?