Rangers open to trading closer Joe Nathan

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal shares this big scoop:

Teams in need of a closer soon may have a stunning new possibility to consider.

The Texas Rangers have had internal discussions about trading All-Star right-hander Joe Nathan, according to major league sources.

If the Rangers proceed, it would be with the idea of dealing from strength and exploiting a thin market for relievers, sources said.

It’s a risky and bold but intelligent move. The market for late-inning relievers is especially soft this summer and Nathan could easily fetch a highly-thought-of prospect or a major league-ready bat.

The 38-year-old has registered a 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 44/11 K/BB ratio across 41 2/3 innings this season for the second-place Rangers and he is 32-for-34 in save opportunities. Nathan carries a $9 million club option for 2014 but can void it if he finishes 55 games in 2013. He has already finished 39 as of July 27.

Texas would presumably roll with Joakim Soria at closer down the stretch and into the postseason.

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?