If we are talking money, then baseball sure has plenty to say. The MLB offseason is in it's early stages and the money is flying off the print. It's quite ironic, because last year, when we witnessed a lockout, owners talked about how revenue isn't coming in as fast because of the pandemic, and that it's difficult to operate a baseball team because of it's expenses.
This year, those same owners have spent over $2 Billion Dollars on free agents. Enter in Steve Cohen, who is playing the Mets Owner like a Monopoly board game. Uncle Stevie opened up his wallet and have doled out $461.7 million in contracts to 6 players so far. Their payroll is expected to be a record $345 million, plus an additional $76.2 million in luxury tax penalties. The Mets current penalty for being over the luxury tax threshold is $76 Million. That tax threshold penalty is more than the COMPLETE payroll of the Orioles ($74.5 Million), Pirates ($72.9 Million) and Athletics ($61 Million). Absolute insanity.
Poor Oakland A's. That has to be a gut punch to their egos that one team is willing to dish out more in penalties then they are willing to pay for their team. But is it a shame? Their owner, John J. Fisher has a net worth of $2.4 billion.
Surely, he will want to improve the team after going 60-102 this past season? Well, think again. Today, as anticipated, Gold Glove catcher Sean Murphy was traded to the Braves in a three team deal. One of the best total package backstops in all of the league, Murphy is on a very friendly contract, and won't become a UFA until 2026. Their return was a few prospect including the Braves No. 1, Kyle Muller, but if history repeats itself, he'll be off the team in the next few years.
Bad teams trade at the deadline and retool in the offseason, so it comes to no surprise, but when you look at their 2021 roster, only Ramón Laureano is left. Everyone else in their starting lineup and main pitchers have either left in free agency or were dealt away.
2021 Oakland A's starting lineup
C: Sean Murphy (traded)
1B: Matt Olson (traded)
2B: Josh Harrison (left in FA)
3B: Matt Chapman (traded)
SS: Elvis Andrus (DFA'd)
LF: Starling Marte (left in FA)
CF: Ramón Laureano
RF: Mark Canha (left in FA)
DH/UTIL: Chad Pinder (FA)
SP: Frankie Montas (traded)
SP: Chris Bassitt (traded)
SP: Sean Manaea (traded)
SP: Jesus Luzardo (traded)
RP: Lou Trivino (traded)
RP: Yusmeiro Petit (left in FA)
RP: Sergio Romo (left in FA)
RP: Jake Diekman (left in FA)
RP: Andrew Chafin (left in FA)
This team had it's fault, but it wasn't an abysmal roster. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman were incredible corner infielders, their outfield was better than most, and their starting pitchers had plenty of promise. In that 2021 season, the team went 86-76 and finished 3rd in the AL West. 10 games over .500 in a division with the Astros and Mariners plus the Angels and Rangers is still solid.
You have to feel awful for A's fans. Any young player or All-Star that they follow gets shipped away. Any favorite or locker room leader gets left in the dust. The Coliseum is a joke, the owners don't provide any upkeep or upgrades, there is rumors of them leaving for Vegas, it's heartbreaking.
It's a never ending cycle of mediocracy for the A's, who haven't been to a World Series since 1990, and haven't won one since the year prior. Their most recent claim to fame was Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, which showcased how GM Billy Beane approached building the franchise off of player stats rather than dishing out major contracts.
If you look at the past decade since the Money Ball era, you can clearly see the peaks and valleys. They'll make the playoffs and get bounced early, they will trade away their star players, they'll suck, and they'll be right back in the mix before starting everything all over.
Via Baseball Reference
The A's are just bad for baseball. No development, no fan value proposition, nothing to root for. Manfred needs to step in and resolve this because Oakland is becoming a wasteland for players and a living hell for their supporters.