Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets have placed infielder Ruben Tejada on the waiver wire, which is a move that likely signals the end of his time with the team after a decade in the organization.
Tejada was slated for a much less substantial role than he served in 2014 and 2015, but new starting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera going down with a strained knee last week seemingly made Tejada a lock to be on the Opening Day roster.
Instead the Mets are willing to lose him for nothing, with Rubin reporting that they’d like to get out from under the $3 million he’s owed this season. When the Mets tendered Tejada a contract for 2016 they hadn’t yet traded for Neil Walker or signed Cabrera, so the infield situation has changed a lot.
If he passes through waivers unclaimed the Mets can release Tejada and be on the hook for just $500,000 of his $3 million salary due to the unique rule surrounding arbitration settlements. At that point he’d be free to sign elsewhere for whatever he can get as he comes back from the broken fibula suffered on Chase Utley‘s postseason takeout slide.
Tejada is a 26-year-old career .255 hitter with a .653 OPS in 580 games for the Mets, who apparently feel comfortable with Wilmer Flores as their Opening Day shortstop and eventual backup.
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?