People in Oakland can talk about Moneyball all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that when you have a star, you eventually have to pony up and pay him like a star. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing said star for nothing in free agency.
In a smaller market like Oakland, it’s a hard line to balance. It would be hard to replace a guy like, say, Khris Davis, who hit 48 home runs last year and is up to ten already in 2019. Davis signed an extension through 2021 on Thursday, and the A’s should consider themselves lucky that Davis signed.
Davis isn’t really one of a kind, but it’s hard enough to find a guy who can hit 50 homers on a yearly basis, much less for a team like Oakland, who can’t go out and sign whatever big free agent happens to be on the market on a given year. Davis won’t be the best player on a championship team, but he can be an excellent second or third wheel. He would have been very difficult to keep from the open market; hence the extension, which ensures the 31-year-old will hang around for another two years.
He’s not putting the A’s over the top, but to let him walk for nothing at the end of the year would have been a big setback for the Athletics.