REACTION No. 2 – Yes, the Athletics would love to win the World Series. But as I started saying when they traded for Jeff Samardzija, it’s really hard to win the World Series if you don’t win the American League West. Finish second, and there’s a 45-percent chance you’re out of the tournament after one lousy game.
When the A’s traded for Samardzija (and Jason Hammel), they were three or four games ahead of the second-place Angels. Today, they’re two or three games ahead of the Angels. While it’s easy to look at the run differentials and just assume the A’s will finish ahead of the Angels, that would be a questionable assumption. Before the season, Angels were just as good as the Athletics on paper, maybe even a smidge better. Granted, that was before we knew how good Jesse Chavez would be, and also before we knew Billy Beane would snag Samardzija. But it was also before we knew that young Garrett Richards and young Kole Calhoun would both play like big stars.
There are things we don’t know, things we can’t know. Which is why sometimes you stack the deck if you can.
I’m surprised the A’s traded their All-Star outfielder, but their All-Star outfielder isn’t actually having an All-Star year, and might actually never have another. I do wonder who’s going to play left field for the A’s, but I also wonder if Billy Beane is finished.