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Who Is Pat And Why Can’t The A’s Stand Them?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Minnesota Twins
Cruz Control
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Poor Pat. Fans look at the A’s and scream, “We can’t stand Pat!” What did Pat do that you can’t stand them? Pat didn’t flail at a fastball over his head. That was Matt. Anyhoo, when your best hitter is Sean Manaea you’re having a bad day and when you blink to find yourself 4 back of the Astros in the loss column, you’re having a bad week. I’m sure The Rembrandts can take it from here.

MLB gets almost everything wrong and the trade deadline is just another example. 2-month rentals are a lame concept that allow teams to stake to, and through, the post-season with a team they didn’t really have most of the season.

In my ever so humble opinion, the trade deadline should be June 30th so that you are required to acquire players who will at least be on your team for half the season. Were that the case, talks would be heating up now and the A’s would be intriguing buyers looking for gold while fielding a farm system that is copper-at-best.

Nelson Cruz is an oft-mentioned target and I’m on board. He doesn’t require you to dangle the likes of Tyler Soderstrom and he mashes LHP and RHP alike. In fact it’s kind of remarkable how good a hitter he is and how well he has sparred with Father Time. Now 40, all Cruz is doing is playing half his games in a good pitchers park and batting .300/.373/.557 for the season.

If this year’s 150 wRC+ impresses you, it shouldn’t. Cruz was at 164 last year (.303/.397/.595) and 163 (.311/.392/.639) the year before that. The last time Cruz was under 133 was in 2013. He’s a legitimate difference maker who would allow the A’s to relegate Mitch Moreland to pinch-underwhelming duties and send Seth Brown packing for Vegas. (It’s easy to get rid of Brown — just throw a changeup somewhere and say, in an excited voice, “Go find it!” He’ll be looking for hours.)

What would the A’s have to pony up to acquire Cruz? First they have to convince John Fisher to take on the remaining portion of Cruz’ $13M salary. That would be around $6.5M now about $4.3M come July 31st. Prospect-wise, BTV says you’re looking in the neighborhood of a Jeff Criswell, but remember that it’s “overpay season” and so the Twins might be asking about Luis Barrera or Brayan Buelvas instead. So then you mention adding lefty reliever Taylor Rogers to your “cart” and it starts to get interesting.

Cruz and Rogers is my holy grail for “going for it without mortgaging the farm,” but that’s still going to require a haul that includes either Barrera, Buelvas, Logan Davidson or Greg Deichmann, if not two of them. What’s your best offer for Cruz and Rogers if you’re the A’s?

I do think an A’s team with those two added becomes a reasonable threat for the division, but more than that I think a ‘stand pat’ A’s team really isn’t. Some of what the A’s do probably depends on where they are in the standings a month from now, assuming they don’t go all Jeff Samardzija and make an early July deal.

The trade deadline should be June 30th. More fair, better for the game — two concepts consistently resisted by Rob Manfred’s MLB.

Speaking of which, the whole ‘sticky stuff patrol’ clusterf***. (Ooh, I wonder how the audio transcript will say that.) Wouldn’t the following system make far more sense? Have umpires choose balls that have been only in the pitcher’s and catcher’s hands for several pitches, and throw them out of play for inspection. If the ball has a foreign substance on it, the pitcher is suspended.

Example: After giving up a homerun and getting a new ball, pitcher Paylord Garry has a full count on a batter who hasn’t fouled a pitch off. Umpire Woe Jest calls time and throws the ball out to be inspected after the game. If a foreign substance is found, Garry will be suspended. Jest does this a few times throughout the game to get a random sample of pitches thrown with baseballs handled only by the pitcher and catcher.

Now you don’t have to figure out where the foreign substance is on the pitcher or catcher’s body, you don’t have to pat someone down, have someone undress, check between innings, slow the game down, none of that. Wouldn’t that be quicker, simpler, and actually more effective?

The A’s need a win. Better yet, how about the Tigers also roar out of oblivion and take 2 today from the Astros? Suddenly things will be looking a lot rosier for Oakland — just a reminder of how quickly the landscape can shift in baseball. Hey, perhaps by August the A’s will be downright Cruzing.

Frankie Montas vs. Alex Wood at 7:05pm tonight, see you ‘there’.