One of the most underrated stories of MLB’s first half has been the performance of the Oakland Athletics. Boasting baseball’s smallest payroll, the A’s head into Saturday’s action with a 53-42 on the season and are clearly in the American League Playoff race.
Given that most of the trade talk surrounding the small-market club has included them selling off assets as a way to prepare further for the future, this surprising record might change the narrative a tad.
According to A’s President Billy Beane, that’s certainly the case. In a recent interview with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Beane noted that the A’s will in fact look to be buyers ahead of this month’s trade deadline.
“The idea that we can sort of push off an opportunity because we think we’ll be better next year is just a bad approach from our standpoint,” the former MLB Executive of the Year said. “We’ve got to do everything we can.”
When pressed about the ownership’s willingness to increase payroll, Beane noted that the players on the field have done everything possible to make that work. It’s certainly been a point of contention between Beane and the powers to be in Northern California during his tenure.
But at times, the A’s have been willing to make that bold in-season move at the cost of their farm system. Beane also noted that the starting rotation will likely be the central focus.
The issue here is that Oakland exists in a top-heavy American League. Despite boasting a 19-6 record since mid June, the A’s are still in third place in the west and five games out of the final wildcard spot.
How this team performs following the All-Star break and leading up to the July 31 trade deadline will tell us everything we need to know. But for now, expect Beane to make one of his big in-season splashes.