Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!
In the wake of yesterday’s spectacularly dispiriting loss to the Mariners, today seems like a fitting day to take stock of what we like—and don’t like—about the Oakland Athletics in 2022.
Let’s start with the easier part: what’s not to like about the A’s.
- They have the worst record in MLB at 23-48.
- They’re on pace to lose a franchise record 109 games.
- They have the third lowest payroll in MLB.
- They are “tanking” even though the incentive to do so has been greatly diminished.
- They might move to Las Vegas.
- They are one of just five MLB franchises that still don’t pay players for extended spring training.
That last point isn’t talked about often, but sadly it is not too surprising. Grinding in the minor leagues is tough. Some incremental gains have been made thanks in part to efforts by the non-profit Advocates for Minor Leaguers. In the past couple of years, most organizations have acquiesced to pressure to pay players for extended spring training, a period in between regular Spring Training and the minor league season in which participants carry an extra heavy workload of training and playing games.
But as Evan Drellich at The Athletic reported yesterday, the A’s are one of just five holdouts that are still not paying for extended spring training. The other four include the Angels, Brewers, Marlins, and Reds.
Drellich spoke with a number of players who detailed their struggles to keep up with the demands of playing and training while only being paid for about three months of the year. Some minor-leaguers struggle with poverty and even food insecurity. Some quit baseball altogether—these pressures on many players in the minor leagues could be a force of attrition in the talent pool that keeps the game alive.
The matter of pay for extended spring training is part of a class-action lawsuit, Senne vs. the Commissioner’s Office, which is in settlement talks and may result in an agreement to pay for minor league players’ efforts outside of the regular season both prospectively and retroactively.
The refusal of MLB organizations to pay fair wages to minor-leaguers is exploitative and disgraceful, and as of today, the A’s are among the worst offenders. They could make a huge difference by sending the $9 million in revenue sharing the organization is getting this year to support their minor-league players. That’s less than a year of Billy Butler! But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The A’s did not respond to The Athletic’s requests for comment on the story.
So what’s to like about the A’s in 2022? Well, speaking for myself: they’re still the green-and-gold-clad team I’ve loved all my life, in large part because they are the closest MLB team to my birthplace, which is Stockton. The franchise has a rich history and many past successes. I love almost all of the players; they may be terrible as a team, but that is almost entirely the fault of ownership.
They also have the best fans in all of baseball! But that’s about all I’ve got right now. How about you?
- Hall: Reminder: MLB Draft Lottery coming in 2023, so these losses won’t get A’s the top pick
- Ashford: Game #71: A’s bullpen wastes Montas’ gem, fall 2-1 to Mariners
- Gallegos: Nearly untouchable Montas underscores trade value
- Hall: A’s roster moves: Sam Moll activated from COVID list
- Kroner: A’s Sheldon Neuse goes from the mound to the leadoff spot ($)
- Drellich: In extended spring training, minor leaguers lament lack of pay: ‘Just a mess’ ($)
MLB News & Interest:
- Slusser: Giants’ Joc Pederson hopes fans ‘respectful’ during Reds series after Tommy Pham’s slap flap ($)
- Kamrani: She wanted to be baseball’s first female umpire. Baseball fought her every step of the way ($)
- Sarris: Will MLB’s new rules for muddying baseballs be the fix the process needs? ($)
- Sammon: Corbin Burnes gives an inside look at how journaling made him an elite pitcher ($)
- Adler: As Yankees, Aaron Judge head to arbitration hearing Friday, here are some FAQs ($)
- Franco: Cole Hamels Targeting 2023 Comeback
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
A’s begin a road trip today in Kansas City. Better take advantage—next stop is the Bronx.
Pitching probables for upcoming A's-Royals series:— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) June 23, 2022
Fri: LHP Irvin vs. RHP Greinke
Sat: LHP Koenig vs. RHP Keller
Sun: RHP Kaprielian vs. RHP Singer
Montas no-hit the Mariners into the eighth despite nonsense like this.
There’s bad, and then there’s this.
Since taking 3 of 4 from the Orioles in their first home series, the A’s have gone 5-27 at the Coliseum.— Steve Berman (@BASportsGuy) June 23, 2022
A'S MOVES: LHP Sam Moll off IL, RHP Domingo Tapia to LV, IF Matt Davidson clears waivers/to LV, RHP Charles Hall, C Hansen Lopez & IFs Sahid Valenzuela & Wilson Alvarez to MID, OF Jonny Butler on LAN IL, LHP Jack Owen to LAN, RHP Dheygler Gimenez to STK…https://t.co/joKXkzbDRy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) June 23, 2022
We sure could use another rookie like this one.