With Scott Kazmir's trade to the Houston Astros came the understanding that the Oakland Athletics had a long way to go to even have a chance at a Wild Card spot, where they trail the Minnesota Twins by seven games and are in ninth in the Wild Card race despite improved play since May 23.
The division is even further out of reach as the Angels have gone perfect to start the second half to go, moving 11 games ahead of Oakland. A's general manager Billy Beane addressed Oakland's beat reporters this afternoon:
Beane: A's needed to be realistic about where they were in the standings.— Lev Facher (@levfacher) July 23, 2015
Beane on potential for further trades: "It's possible." Reiterates, "math doesn't necessarily work well in our favor" in terms of standings.— Lev Facher (@levfacher) July 23, 2015
Beane says the fact that A's aren't contending for division alleviated concerns about trading within AL West.— Lev Facher (@levfacher) July 23, 2015
Billy Beane: "We had to be realistic about where we were as a club."— Trevor Hass (@TrevorHass) July 23, 2015
Beane on fan reaction: "Had we done nothing at the end of the year, the reaction would have been, 'why didn't you get something for him?'"— Lev Facher (@levfacher) July 23, 2015
Billy Beane: "Right now we've got to focus on the next few years."— Trevor Hass (@TrevorHass) July 23, 2015
Beane on Kazmir: "He was a great role model for a bunch of these younger guys, particularly Sonny Gray."— Trevor Hass (@TrevorHass) July 23, 2015
If Beane has concluded that it's more valuable to bet on 2016 and 2017 than the slim hope of returning to the postseason in 2015, then getting the youngest and best-hitting catcher in the California League with a back-end starter prospect in exchange for two months of an All-Star pitcher that is more useful to a team closer to postseason contention than the A's is a pretty nice haul.