Apologies are in order after the Oakland Athletics pull the carpet out from under fans again.
When I first volunteered to write for the FanSided Oakland Athletics blog, I did so with great enthusiasm. 2015 had been a bad year, but I had high hopes for 2016. The bullpen, which had blown so many games in 2015, was completely re-vamped. The starting pitching looked good. I got a good vibe from Khris Davis. Marcus Semien was on the cusp of becoming the best power-hitting shortstop in baseball. I believed in this team and the whole Oakland A’s organization.
A lot of A’s fans were still bitter about a lot of the trades that went down in 2014. The trades did not always work out, but you could see the logic behind them. Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester turned out to be disastrous, but you could see the logic behind bolstering a pitching staff in hopes of going deep into the playoffs. Josh Donaldson for Brett Lawrie was another terrible trade, but you could see the logic behind getting a younger third baseman who had the potential to put up Donaldson-like numbers. Kendall Graveman also came in that trade. Jeff Samardzija for Marcus Semien turned out to be a great deal once Ron Washington came home to Oakland. Understand that I am not saying these trades were all good, they were clearly NOT good trades. But at least you can see the logic behind those trades. At least you could tell yourself, “The Front Office is trying to build a winner.” That’s what I told myself. That’s why I could write articles encouraging A’s fans to keep the faith.
Turns out I was dead wrong. And for that, I owe you A’s fans an apology.
The line coming from the front office is that the A’s just could not afford to give Josh Reddick the contract that he would demand and get elsewhere. I see it totally differently. If the A’s had any hope of getting back to the playoffs, the A’s could not afford to lose Josh Reddick. Reddick has developed into a five tool player. His tools are not as good as Willie Mays, but he can run, throw, field, hit for power and hit for average. He was the best player on the A’s team this year.
More than that, Reddick loved playing in Oakland. He was the heart and the soul of the team. He took younger players under his wing. He was in charge of the pies in the face. Fans loved him because he played with joy and a zest for the game. Heck, I even have “Careless Whisper” on my IPOD because of Reddick. The front office traded the best and the most popular player on the team for three minor league pitchers.
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Some people are saying these pitchers are talented, and it is better to get something more than a sandwich pick in the 2017 draft. I say “What difference does it make?” Let’s say these guys end up having the talent of Orel Hershiser, Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax. What difference does it make? By the time they get to the big leagues, every other decent player on the Oakland A’s roster will have been traded for more prospects. The front office is not trying to build a winner. The front office is not trying to build anything. It’s all about keeping payroll down and collecting cheques from the new cable television deal and what little revenue sharing Major League Baseball has.
Trading Reddick has proven that owners Lew Wolff and John J. Fisher have no desire to build a winning team. They have no consideration of their fans. This was a salary dump plain and simple. Perhaps all the trades have been salary dumps starting with the Cespedes trade. Trading Reddick was a big slap in the faceto what few fans still believed in the team. I was one of those true believers. I really did go into this season thinking that the A’s had a nice nucleus of a good, maybe great team. I always tried to think the best of the front office.
Up until August 1, I encouraged A’s fans to believe in this team and to support this team. I was wrong to do so. For that I apologize.