There’s nothing like an unpopular trade to get players to talk about how “baseball is a business.’’
When that phrase is uttered, it’s a good bet the player is going for the easiest justification.
And when there have been three trades in five days as has been the case with the A’s, with three proven and popular big leaguers shipped off to make pennant race runs elsewhere, that baseball-as-business is the handiest crutch around.
The way to have prevented the trades of Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and now Ben Zobrist would have been to win more. And not all that much more, either, If the A’s, a Major League-worst 10-24 in one-run games, had won say six more of those, games they had a legit chance to win, they be a .500 team and they’d have been close enough that general manager Billy Beane might have gone in another direction.
That would mean turning one-in-three of their one-run losses into wins. I you’ve been watching the A’s, you know it wouldn’t have taken that much. A few big hits and a few clutch pitches would have gotten the job done.
That didn’t happen.
“At the end of the day, baseball is a business,’’ third baseman Brett Lawrie said. “This is what happens. You hate to lose the guys we lost, guys we’d built relationships with, but this is what’s happened, and there’s nothing we can do about it now.’’
DH Billy Butler signed a three-year contract with the A’s last winter, and the team he is playing with now doesn’t look anything like the one he thought he’d be playing with. Yet he has taken it in stride.
“I’ve been through this a few times in Kansas City,’’ he said. “If you’re not in contention, then players who are in the last years of their contracts are going to be traded. There’s a lot of frustration because we didn’t play better.
“We lost a lot of those one-run games that we should have won.’’
Catcher Stephen Vogt said he’d spotted Zobrist Tuesday morning in the hotel with his family, well before the trade went down.
“I was thinking I should say goodbye, just in case,’’ Vogt said. “I’m sorry I didn’t.
“The frustrating thing is we put ourselves in this position. But we still have 60-some games to play, and I think I speak for everyone in this clubhouse that we will be trying to win each one.’’
Right fielder Josh Reddick echoed that.
“We still have a lot of games to play, and we’re going to go out every day like we have,’’ Reddick said. “We haven’t had our best year, and that’s one of the reasons we’re here now.’’
If it was up to Reddick, he would have held off on making the trades, although he says he realizes the July 31 trade deadline waits for no one.
“I would have liked to us see have more time,’’ he said.