The Diamondbacks have already parted with their center fielder in Chris Young, and their right fielder, Justin Upton, has been a hot topic in trade rumors for a full year now. Now they’re also considering a change in left field, as FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reports that they’ve discussed Jason Kubel with multiple teams.
Kubel is due $7.5 million next year in the final guaranteed year of his contract. There’s also a $7.5 million mutual option on his deal for 2015.
Signed last winter in a surprising deal, Kubel hit .253/.327/.506 with 30 homers and 90 RBI in his first year with the Diamondbacks. If Arizona moves him, then Gerardo Parra would likely be restored to everyday status in left field. As is, Adam Eaton and Parra are set to battle for time in center.
Morosi doesn’t go into specifics about what teams have discussed Kubel, but the Rangers, Mariners and Orioles would seem to be some of the most likely suitors. Those are also the three AL teams linked to Adam LaRoche, a left-handed bat of similar quality (though one with quite a bit more defensive value).
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?