The Oakland Athletics have the best record in baseball. As of tonight, they are 66-41 with an unearthly run differential of +162. They are a team composed of mostly unknown individuals, an unbelievable testament to their scouting and development. They have an organizational philosophy that revolves around guys getting on base and then the guys who come up after that knowing how to get them in. Their payroll to begin 2014 was 25th out of 30 teams, at roughly $83,400,000.
The Kansas City Royals are 55-52 with a run differential of +2, and they are four games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers. They are a team of prospects who haven’t quite made it, old castoffs who washed their way back into town, and enough broken dreams to fill a Tom Waits song. They do not appear to possess ANY organizational philosophy other than, “you should see these guys in batting practice—they can really put it over the wall,” and their payroll to begin 2014 was $92,000,000. That was good for 19th in all of baseball and the largest amount in club history
In case you missed it, today was the 295th Annual Major League Baseball trade deadline.
Always eager to improve an already impossibly good team, Oakland General Manager/Unparalleled Super Genius Billy Beane dealt a really decent outfielder named Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for ace starting pitcher Jon Lester and ho-hum-but-somewhat-valuable-outfielder Jonny Gomes. And because he couldn’t leave well enough alone, he dealt starting pitcher Tommy Milone to the Minnesota Twins for spark-plug outfielder Sam Fuld. (Milone was made expendable because, earlier in the season, Beane acquired Chicago Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardzija. Because of course he did.)
These are all things that Billy Beane did because he’s planning on “winning now.” This is a cool and easy thing to do when you’re in the A’s position; there was no question that they were “in it” this year. (Let’s just forget for a second that the A’s—under Beane—have always had the philosophy that “no player” is untouchable. They do not play favorites and they manage their organization for the sake of the organization itself. Therefore, fuck your “Cespedes t-shirt giveaway day” that was set to occur this Saturday. They will jettison anyone—at any time— without a second thought.)
Throughout the course of the day, and over the past week or so, really, the Royals were linked to several teams and random players. There was talk that the Seattle Mariners wanted Billy Butler. They were also apparently discussing the acquisition of outfielder Alex Rios. Late word came in that they were interested in reliever Andrew Miller and starter John Lackey. Bartolo Colon’s name was bandied about.
In the end, general manager Dayton Moore decided that this team was fine. They didn’t have the means to expand payroll, but that was okay; they’d dance with the idiots what brung them.
They sat on their hands. Stood pat. Fished in their pockets aimlessly while looking sheepishly at the ground.
They did nothing, which was the dumbest thing they could possibly do.
To be honest, I wanted them to sell. I don’t think they’re in this race. The Tigers acquisition of David Price virtually assured that they won’t win the division, and both Wild Card spots seem fairly farfetched and unreasonable.
The Royals have a lot of valuable pieces, and I think they would have been well served to entertain callers.
Once that idea was out the window, though, I wanted to see them buy like rowdy Arabs at a cheap American disco If you’re not willing to totally concede defeat, why not recklessly abandon all hope and thrust your proverbial balls against the wall, I wonder?
There were no bats to be had, according to Moore, but I guess those rules didn’t apply to Cespedes.
And I guess that Lester or Lackey wouldn’t have been a step-up from the rapidly-fading Jeremy Guthrie or Bruce Fucking Chen.
Because Dayton Moore is a pussy, that’s why.
And because Moore is a pussy—and Beane is not—the A’s will once again make the playoffs (with a smaller payroll) and the Royals will still be sitting at home this October, just like they have every October since 1985.
Cool trade deadline, guys.