The Oakland Athletics did what they typically do at the trade deadline – clear out the cupboards to putdown new shelf liners, and then eventually put new items where the old ones were. The cupboards look the same, but nobody is quite sure what the new stuff actually is or where to find it.
The San Francisco Giants, on the other hand, did one of their occasional fan seminars about not getting too attached to anyone or anything. The belated magic of Matt Duffy and the potential allure of Andrew Susac are now someone else’s issue, all in the reach of hole-pluggers like Matt Moore and Will Smith.
Five-letter surnames in, five-letter surnames out – a busy day for Bobby Evans, if you get our drift.
The A’s simply moved names for prospects, as their eternal plan for kicking the can down the road in search of a bright future that is always deferred. The Giants let the market scoop up the biggest and sexiest names and “settled” for bargains that are gambles – Smith because of his knee, Moore because his best days to date are three years old.
But shopping is part of the new raison d’etre for the modern baseball fan, and winning the trade deadline is as big as winning the offseason, while winning the World Series is a joy reserved for only one team and therefore to be diminished.
At least that’s how it seems. Too many fans and media members want to play General Manager For A Day (the New York Yankees, for example, gave up Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran and got 10 prospects in return, an enormous and inspiring haul – if you’re the San Diego Padres.
Nebulous futures are more valued than the reality of the now, and while the A’s almost always opt for the later, the Giants are getting cuffed about for engaging in the right now. Duffy and Susac were part of the next decade for this team, until they weren’t, and Giant fans, who develop unusually active crushes on young players, are not excited by either deal.
Yet, anyway. It is always good to remember that they did nothing clever with the Great Veteran Haul of 2010 until they got a parade out of it, at which point Brian Sabean was proclaimed a genius.
[PAVLOVIC: Sources: Giants acquire Will Smith from Brewers]
Still, Giant fans are good at fetishizing, and there are still people who long nostalgically for Zach Wheeler, the pitcher they gave to the New York Metropolitans in 2011 for Beltran who has been injured far longer than he has been a Met.
Duffy and Susac were two of their homegrowns, and homegrowns matter to an inordinate degree to Giant fans. Now they are Rays and Brewers, and frankly, that can ruin some fans’ days. There are still people pining for Tim Lincecum five years after the end of his happy days.
In other words, the trade deadline is not for them – not as long as the Giants continue to be in pennant races. Evans is different than Sabean was – he is less risk-averse and comfortable with greater orthodoxy. He is a more conventional general manager doing conventional things like Matt Moore and Will Smith for Matt Duffy and Andrew Susac.
In other words, he has made Giant fans sad until further notice. The A’s, whether it be under David Forst or Billy Beane (two more five-syllable surnames, since you didn’t ask) – well, they are who they are and always will be until the mandate from above changes.
Maybe about time for the 20th anniversary of the new ballpark that will magically emerge once the Raiders move. Because the A’s are always about that future, no matter how same-old-now it always ends up looking.