Former Rangers owner Brad Corbett dies

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Former Texas Rangers owner Brad Corbett has died. The Long Island-born businessman who made his fortune selling PVC pip to the oil industry in Fort Worth owned the team from 1974 to 1980. He was 75.

Corbett’s tenure as Rangers’ owner was Steinbrennerian. He was the defacto GM. He signed a lot of free agents, but not many good ones, and traded for big names like Al Oliver and Bobby Bonds. He also went through a lot of managers, employing Billy Martin, Frank Lucchesi,  Eddie Stanky, Connie Ryan, Billy Hunter and Pat Corrales. Players came and went pretty darn fast in those days as well.

The team did, however, experience its most success up to that point during his stewardship, winning 94 games in 1977 and finishing above .500 four times. Ultimately, though, they were no match for the mid-to-late 70s Kansas City Royals and real success eluded the club.  Corbett sold the team in 1980.

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?