There is much about what’s coming from A-Rod and his legal team right now that reeks of grandstanding and carnival sideshow-ism. That said, buried in this New York Post story about their latest gambit (i.e. to have the arbitration hearing open to the public) is a darn good point:
Tacopina accused MLB of “selective leaks” about the A-Rod case, and he noted an Associated Press story in which Manfred disputed an accounting of his testimony last week. The AP reported Manfred testified he wasn’t concerned whether MLB’s star witness Anthony Bosch sold illegal performance-enhancing drugs to minors.
“Rob Manfred releases his version of the testimony,” Tacopina said. “Put out the full transcript.”
Why Rob Manfred can publicly confirm or deny his testimony in a way which bolsters MLB’s side of the case while the arbitrators issue injunctions against A-Rod and his legal team from talking about the case from their perspective is a really damn good question.
No, P.R. shouldn’t and won’t ultimately decide this case, but behavior like this sort of suggests that A-Rod’s complaint of MLB having it in for him and singling him out has some validity.
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?