The Oakland Athletics have not reached the postseason since back in 2014 and don’t appear ready to return to the promised land anytime soon. As a result, the Athletics have elected to trade away a pair of veteran relief pitchers in left-hander Sean Doolittle and right-hander Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals in exchange for some younger talent.
In doing so, Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane understands that a rebuild is no easy task — in more ways than one.
“We need to be disciplined with [a rebuild], particularly with how aligned with what we’re trying to do in the community as far as a stadium,” Beane recently told reporters. “There’s only one way to open a stadium successfully, and that’s with a good, young team.”
As it stands today, Oakland sits in last place in the divisional standings, thanks to their 42-50 record in 2017.
“The important end of the sentence is rebuilding and keeping them. This is my 20th year on the job. There are only so many cycles that I can go through before I get as exasperated as everybody else. Finding players has never been an issue for us. Keeping them and ultimately keeping the faith and commitment from people who follow the team, that’s got to be done by keeping them around. Again, I’ve been assured by ownership that that’s what we’re going to do as it parallels with the stadium.”
However, Beane has acknowledged that the Athletics have not been able to retain veteran players in addition to up-and-coming talent in the past, which has stunted previous attempts at a roster overhaul.
“Really what’s been missing the last 20 years is keeping these players,” he added. “We need to change that narrative by creating a good team and ultimately committing to keep them around so that when people buy a ticket, they know that the team is going to be around for a few years.”