If Connie Mack were around today, he would recognize the Oakland Athletics, despite their garish gold and green uniforms. The contemporary A’s mirror his old franchise. The budget is among the MLB’s smallest but the pride of gritty Oakland finds creative ways to win.
The A’s not only lead the American League West, Billy Beane’s collection of no-names has the best record in the major league. The Phillies, who have a $184 million payroll, possess the seventh worst record in major league baseball.
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How do the A’s do it?
“We have to do things differently due to our payroll," manager Bob Melvin said. “We look at unique players that fit what we try to do. If we can’t create one player with x amount of dollars we’ll do it with two players for a platoon.”
Sometimes the A’s strike gold, which is what happened with Brandon Moss. After putting it together with the Phillies Triple-A club in Lehigh Valley, Moss came up to the big club for a cup of coffee in September of 2011. However, the Phillies let Moss walk after the season. The A’s took a flyer on Moss, who opened eyes in 2012 with a .954 OPS.
“We gave Moss an opportunity to fail,” Melvin said. “We saw something in him and thought he deserved that chance. He’s made us look good.”
In 2013, Moss became their cleanup hitter and positively raked. Moss finished with 30 homers and 87 RBI. The laidback Georgia native is on his way to a career year with 17 homers and 55 RBI thus far.
“It’s a testament to this franchise,” Moss said. “They look under rocks and find players that help us win.”
Ergo, the A’s latest acquisition. Oakland purchased Brad Mills Wednesday from the Brewers for $1. Beane picked up a lefty, who will be plugged into their rotation for less than the cost of a pack of gum. Mills, who has a 1.56 ERA in 75 innings, had an opt out clause, which the A’s jumped on.
“You have to admire the way this team operates,” Moss said. “They do their homework and do so much with such a little budget. Let’s just say they do things differently than they do in Philadelphia and to be fair they do things differently than any other team in baseball.”