One of the more interesting tidbits within the Astros’ leaked internal communications earlier this week was an potential trade for Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, which means the Marlins are yet again trying to convince the baseball world and Stanton that he’s not going to be traded.
Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill called Stanton personally to assure him there were no trade talks ongoing currently and then Hill told reporters the following:
I told you guys in the beginning of the winter that he’s not available–and we’re not shopping him. I would expect clubs to call on a good player. He’s a good player and I think that’s the point we want to make sure gets out. I’ve spoken to him and told him exactly that. So there’s no miscommunication and no misinterpretation on anybody’s part. We haven’t shopped him. He’s not available. We want that to be crystal clear.
We talk to our counterparts all the time. They like some of our players and we like some of their players. That doesn’t mean any of them are available. In that situation, it’s unfortunate they got hacked and it’s unfortunate that information got out there. But we just wanted to set the record straight he is not available. We didn’t go around calling and shopping him. It’s a non-story on our end.
All of which sounds perfectly fair and reasonable, except Miami’s history with trading away star talent makes it a story whether Hill likes it or not.
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?