Superstar for superstar: Pushing all the chips in

Brennan Cole, Staff Writer

Unfortunately for the Oakland A’s, their most valuable player is no longer wearing green and gold.
On July 31, A’s general manager Billy Beane made one of the biggest blockbuster trades baseball has seen in the last decade. Swapping superstar for superstar is something that America’s pastime simply doesn’t do anymore, but the game’s longest tenured general manager had a different approach.
Every year on July 31, all 30 Major League Baseball franchises are faced with a number of important questions. Is their team within striking distance of making the playoffs? Is there team completely out of contention? Is it worth risking the future for a “rental player”?
On July 31, 2014 the Oakland A’s owned baseball’s best record, having given up a total of 374 runs, with the Dodgers giving up the next least at 403.
Offensively, the A’s had also scored the most runs in the league. Add the two together and these two overwhelming statistics had the A’s everybody’s World Series pick. Yet Beane was not complacent with his current team and decided to pursue one of the game’s most prominent and accomplished left-handed pitchers: Jon Lester.
With a depleted farm system, it wouldn’t be easy to make such a big blockbuster. Their only missing component was a legitimate ace to their starting rotation. Beane decided to throw his chips all in, trading arguably the team’s most important all-around player for Lester; Yoenis Cespedes.
Since losing Cespedes, the A’s have gone 13-17 in addition to dropping out of the top spot in their division. The rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have made a recent surge and currently sit six games up on the A’s.
The A’s offense has vanished, with averaging nearly less than a run per game since the departure of Cespedes.
In the month of August the team batting average was .224, while averaging 3.6 runs per game and slugging .351.
In the previous 107 games their slugging percentage was .405 with 5.0 runs per game.

 

Needless to say their offense has been missing the offensive sparkplug. Not to mention, their lone threat in the lineup has been All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Fortunately for Oakland, there are plenty of games left to make up for this month-long rough stretch; but if they are going to do so, they ought to start producing runs sooner, rather than later. If not, the Angels will continue their tear and run away with the division.