As long as we and many others are extolling the virtues of former A's in the postseason or decrying the perceived miserliness of the Athletics Investment Group LLC that has ranked managing owner Lew Wolff the worst in American sports in an ESPN Magazine poll, I thought I'd just point out what a roster of former A's that made one of the 10 (or 12 if you count the Wild Card separately from the Division Series) postseason rosters this year would cost just this year.
There's 24 players on this roster, but even a pitcher short, 50.0 fWAR would have been double Oakland's 25.0. $175 million would also be a little more than double what the A's spent on payroll this year.
But this isn't really a comment about a $175 million-and-rising payroll being out of the reach or the willingness of A's ownership. There are no conclusions to be drawn from this table because that table is indulgence in a fantasy. There's nothing wrong with a healthy indulgence in fantasy, and trust me that a world where the A's have both Jon Lester and Yoenis Cespedes on the roster in 2015 is a fantasy.
A world where Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir, and Tyler Clippard (23.6 fWAR, ~$48 mil) are on the same roster is also a fantasy, though one perhaps closer to a reality. It's still a fantasy on the lines of, "If only the A's had made the good trades and didn't make the bad ones for this year."
I choose to leave the merits that led to each player's departure to the long distant past this postseason, however. Because that's the furthest thing from my mind when Yoenis Cespedes socks a dinger at Citi Field. A former player's success does not, as the San Francisco Chronicle's Ann Killion puts it, make it "tough for Oakland Athletics fans to watch." On the contrary, former A's players make an Oakland-less postseason so compelling because of the emotional attachment I have to these players.
So indulge in some healthy fantasy this postseason. Reality will return sooner than you think.
Update: It was brought to my attention that I had inadvertently overlooked Chris Denorfia and Cliff Pennington. The article has been updated to add those players.