Confident A's choose not to tinker with success
No moves at Trade Deadline as team pushes for postseason
OAKLAND -- The confidence that has come from Oakland's extraordinary play extends to the front office, a notion that was exemplified on Tuesday when the decision-makers let the non-waiver Trade Deadline pass without making a move.
"We said all along we had to be respectful of the group that's here and how well they've played and, also, respectful of the fact that a lot of our success has come because of the young players, and we were going to be protective of those guys," assistant general manager David Forst said. "With those two dynamics at play, there wasn't anything that came up before 1 o'clock [PT] today that compelled us to make a move."
And so the A's stood pat with a contingent that has utilized a 34-16 record since June 2 to make a run at the playoffs, their lone acquisition during trade season being part-time catcher George Kottaras, who made his Oakland debut Tuesday against the Rays.
The A's entered the day 19-4 in July and in sole possession of second place in the American League West, with the Rangers leading by only 3 1/2 games.
Messing with that mojo wasn't something the A's wanted to do, particularly at the expense of parting with a top prospect or two. Such thinking is understandable, but it could also come back to haunt the A's down the stretch, should they falter with a squad that didn't receive an upgrade that might have been available to them.
The left side of the infield, particularly shortstop, was the subject of much trade rumors involving the A's this month, with Hanley Ramirez -- since moved to the Dodgers -- Yunel Escobar, Stephen Drew and Jimmy Rollins among the names being thrown out as potential upgrades over the struggling duo of Cliff Pennington and Brandon Hicks.
But while Forst said the club engaged in "plenty of conversations" in the days leading up to the deadline, regarding multiple players and positions, he maintained, "I wouldn't say anything was close."
"This group is doing a great job, and it's hard to argue with the success they've had on the field," Forst said. "We didn't go into this week thinking, 'We absolutely need to do something.' But just because we've passed, it doesn't mean any opportunity we have to improve is gone."
The A's, if they choose to do so, could add a player by way of a waiver deal. Now that the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded.
The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
The ones that do clear waivers - think Rollins - will likely only do so because of their large contracts, which Oakland probably couldn't handle anyway. The difficulty in this process is apparent, but Forst wouldn't rule out any activity.
"We'll see," Forst said. "We've had success doing it before, both trading guys away and trading for guys. I think we'll, starting tomorrow, monitor that market and see what the options are going forward."
Meanwhile, division counterparts Texas and Los Angeles both picked up pitching help. The Angels added Zack Greinke to their rotation, while the Rangers swung a last-minute deal to snatch up starter Ryan Dempster from the Cubs.
Neither move influenced the A's to hammer out something of their own, in part because Oakland considers pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson -- both of whom are expected to return in August -- as upgrades.
"If you want to compare pitching, I'll take what we have," said manager Bob Melvin, who's pitching staff has combined for an American League-best 3.42 ERA.
"Adding those guys is certainly going to be a plus," Forst said. "Between those guys and some pitchers and position players that are doing well in the Minor Leagues, we have the ability to add from within. That's certainly going to be a factor over the next month or two."