A's assistant GM David Forst has seen the team go from post-season pretender to legitimate contender, and a conversation with Mike Matheny.
David Forst certainly knows how to describe the Athletics' amazing 2012 season as well as anybody. After all, he has lived it as the club's assistant general manager and right-hand man to veteran GM Billy Beane. Forst was there at the start of spring training when seemingly no one outside the organization gave the Athletics any chance of contending. And he is here now, as the Athletics have become one of the biggest surprises in baseball by putting themselves in post-season contention for the first time in six years, even after being swept at home by the Angels in a three-game series this week.
If voters took the MVP voting instructions literally, Jose Bautista would likely be bringing home some hardware this season.
TORONTO—The following—courtesy of a living, breathing, American League voter who hopes to be compensated with an alcoholic beverage to be named later—is a copy of the instructions given to those within the Baseball Writers' Association of America who have been tapped to elect this season's Most Valuable Player.
I am not strictly opposed to a player on a non-contender winning the award, which has happened on occasion (think Alex Rodriguez of the last-place Rangers in 2003) although I admit that's a tougher one for me since the word valuable suggests that the players' achievements did not go for naught and actually helped a team play into October…
…[S]ince the award is for mostvaluable player, and not most outstanding, the effect a player had on the pennant race should be vital. If someone else wants to interpret most valuable as synonymous to best, they can. And if someone else wants to interpret it as being valuable to a particular team, they can, too. But there is plenty of precedent to suggest it means valuable in the league.
In the Nationals' and Orioles' battle for the local fan base, the team that blinks first may stand to gain the most.
This past month, I moved back up I-95 from Washington to Philadelphia, where I’d spent all but the previous eighteen months of my life. There has been only one major-league franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since the Athletics forsook Philly in 1955, but as I discovered during my sojourn in the District, many baseball fans in the DC area have been torn between the Baltimore Orioles, for whom many of them grew up cheering, and the Washington Nationals, who emigrated from Montreal in 2005. Neither team has been good during their years of geographic coexistence, and the metropolitan area has not seen a playoff game since 1997, but both teams have slowly begun to develop the young talent necessary to compete. Although animosity stemming from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ opposition to a Washington franchise has cost the O’s some fans, many in the DC area have yet to determine their allegiance.
What does a voice from BP's past have to say about the prospect of a second wild card?
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
We've offered a number of more contemporarytakes on the matter, but with the prospect of a second wild card looming, let's flash back to what Nate had to say on the subject in an article that originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on September 17, 2003.
Taking a peek at the bare cupboard that is the remaining free-agent outfielders.
Outfield went from a position of reasonable depth to a veritable wasteland in under a week. Andruw Jones, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez—outfielder emeritus—all came off the board. There are a few players left who look primed to provide solid value, but if the outfield is a perceived spot of weakness for a team, acting soon would be virtuous. Outside of the five players listed here, the options turn rancid quickly.
Skip feeling snuggly about the Cubs, there's work to be done.
So, it's another disappointment-soaked season in sudsy Wrigley. Adding to the Carteresque malaise and general blanditude as the string gets played out, the Cubs don't even have the benefit of their ever-entertaining skipper, Lou Piniella. That grand old man, recognizing that the end was not merely nigh, but comfortably unpacked, settled in, and asking what's in the fridge, decided to abbreviate this last spin with ambition.*
Lima Time as a standard for evaluation, reinforcing the Red Sox, the Tigers slip by an Inge, and more.
Using a pitcher's rate of SNLVAR, Kazmir's season has been a disaster of massive proportions, one that rates about 4.8 on the Keough scale, something that for the moment suits my purposes for describing starting pitcher inadequacy, using Matt Keough's appalling 1982 season as a baseline for starting pitcher-related terrors visited upon a team's unhappy fans over a full season. This isn't really especially fair of me, in that Keough doesn't hold the single-season low for a starter with 30 starts in a campaign, but 1982 was a horrifying disappointment, and the man was beaten with a regularity that made me think that he was the drum, and the entire American League was Keith Moon.
The White Sox have ridden a great wave of momentum into first place by winning 25 of their last 30 games to go from 9 ½ games out on June 9 to a half-game ahead. Nevertheless, they could use another big bat, particularly from the left side, as they are averaging 4.52 runs a game. A left-handed power hitter would fit nicely and the White Sox have been linked to the Nationals' Adam Dunn and Astros' Lance Berkman for weeks. However, with right-hander Jake Peavy out for the season because of a torn late muscle, the White Sox could add another starter and instead and try to ride a strong rotation to the division title. The Astros' Roy Oswalt would fit nicely (and maybe the always-surprising Kenny Williams could get both him and Berkman in a blockbuster) and Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly or Diamondbacks right-hander Dan Haren would also fill the void nicely.
A look at five starting pitchers who could be on the move at the trading deadline, along with other MLB notes.
The non-waiver trading deadline is still one month and three days away. However, contenders are already jockeying for position to acquire a starting pitcher that could possibly put them over the top in the regular season and make them a force, if not a favorite, in the postseason.