For the past 22 years, the As have been doing science by maximizing modest resources to field competitive teams, a process remembered in the book “Moneyball”. They’ve been playoff regulars, but the heartbreaking process of swapping top players before they reach free will seems to have reached a tipping point this spring after the two Mattes – Chapman and Olson – were traded to Toronto and Atlanta, leaving fans with their unique souvenir jerseys to remember them with.
“They swapped all of our players,” said Drew Hernandez, 18, a student at Las Positas College in nearby Livermore, who spoke in an empty, echoing tunnel under the stands during one of the recent matches between A’s and Rays. “It has to stop.”
A’s mid-level players, coaches and management are in a difficult position, caught in the middle, as Lowrie said, between the devoted but angry fans supporting them and the wishes of team owner John J. Fisher.
It is not easy to see the beloved and talented teammates leave.
“Our model is where we go through players and through that cycle there are times when fans don’t understand and may not like what we do here,” said Mark Kotsay, the new A manager and former Oakland player. “But we have a loyal fan base, and that’s really all that matters.”