(AP) – General manager Billy Beane set aside his “Moneyball” tactics before last season’s trade deadline and reshaped the rotation in a futile attempt to bring the Oakland Athletics a championship. Now Beane is back to selling off potential rentals rather than acquiring them as Oakland sits in the AL West basement.
One day after dealing free-agent-to-be Scott Kazmir, the A’s send Jesse Chavez to the mound in Friday night’s opener of a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants across the bay.
Beane traded top prospect Addison Russell to get starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs on July 4 of last year before dealing slugger Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester at the July 31 deadline.
Those moves were made to build a feared rotation for a deep postseason run, but instead Oakland slipped into the second wild-card spot, lost to eventual AL champion Kansas City and watched the Giants win their third World Series in five seasons.
Now the A’s (44-53) are 11 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels, and Beane again has his sights on the future. Kazmir was slated to start Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Toronto, but Beane dealt him to Houston earlier in the day for highly touted catcher Jacob Nottingham and minor league pitcher Daniel Mengden.
More moves could be coming soon, too.
“We have to be realistic with where we are,” Beane said. “The math doesn’t necessarily work in our favor given the level of play we need just to get back in (the playoff race).”
Oakland had won five of seven before Thursday. Brett Lawrie, who came over from the Blue Jays in the offseason trade for MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, went hitless and is batting .152 over his last 10.
Chavez (5-9, 3.21 ERA) went 1-3 with a 6.55 ERA in his last four starts before the All-Star break, then allowed three hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings of Sunday’s 14-1 win over Minnesota.
The right-hander had a similarly solid outing in his only start against San Francisco, allowing four hits and striking out nine in six innings of a 5-0 victory July 7, 2014.
Oakland has won seven of the last nine meetings with the Giants (51-44), who have been hot lately while getting plenty of help from Buster Posey. The 2012 NL MVP is 16 for 34 during an eight-game hitting streak after hitting a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 7-1 win over San Diego.
San Francisco has outscored opponents 61-27 while winning eight of nine. Posey is batting .416 with 25 RBIs while hitting safely in 19 of his last 20, increasing his average from .287 to .318.
“I’m not trying to do too much,” Posey told MLB’s official website. “You have to adjust to how you feel each day or night.”
Jake Peavy (1-4, 4.94) has been taking a simple approach as well since spending 2 1/2 months on the disabled list with a back strain. Peavy has gone 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA in three starts since returning after overcoming eight hits and four runs allowed – including a pair of homers – in 6 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 8-4 win over Arizona.
“It’s nice to get (the injury) behind you,” Peavy said. “These last three outings are something to build on.”
The right-hander was with Boston on June 19, 2014, when he last faced the A’s, allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss.
Billy Butler is 14 for 33 with three homers and a double off Peavy.
Updated July 23, 2015
w10 © 2015 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.