ALDS, Game 5: Tigers-A’s lineups

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Lineups for Game 5 in Oakland …

Tigers:
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
2B Omar Infante
LF Don Kelly

SP Justin Verlander

Tigers manager Jim Leyland has made a big change, benching slick-fielding rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias and shifting Jhonny Peralta back to shortstop after playing him out of position in left field with some ugly results. Don Kelly steps into the lineup for Iglesias, which is the latest in a long line of Leyland putting an awful lot of faith in the 34-year-old career .229 hitter. Leyland loves Kelly and has essentially chosen him over Iglesias while upgrading the outfield defense and downgrading the infield defense.

Athletics:
CF Coco Crisp
3B Josh Donaldson
SS Jed Lowrie
LF Yoenis Cespedes
DH Seth Smith
1B Brandon Moss
2B Alberto Callaspo
RF Josh Reddick
C Stephen Vogt

SP Sonny Gray

A’s manager Bob Melvin has also made some changes, led by benching Eric Sogard and starting Alberto Callaspo at second base. Melvin had previous said he wanted Sogard’s glove in the game and valued the impact Callaspo’s bat could make off the bench as a pinch-hitter, but apparently that changed. Yoenis Cespedes also moves into the cleanup spot, with Brandon Moss sliding down in the lineup.

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?