This is obvious to the point where I’m going to mail it in. This is what I wrote when I graded the rumor that had Gray going to the Astros:
The A’s philosophy hearkens back to the old Branch Rickey quote, which is roughly Better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. Trading their best players with years of team control is how they got Dan Haren for Mark Mulder, and it’s how they got Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson for Haren.
Then they traded Anderson for Drew Pomeranz, whom they traded for Yonder Alonso, who will bring back a prospect or three this deadline. This trade chain will live forever, and the point is that it’s an organizational philosophy to look the future, cheap seasons of a good player as something that enhances the value for another team, not the A’s.
Fans have often pointed to the NHL’s skills competitions as something MLB could integrate into its own All-Star festivities, and the KBO provides a blueprint. In particular, there’s the Perfect Pitcher competition and the Perfect Hitter competition. (There’s no Perfect Bunting competition yet, but I believe that if we keep insisting upon justice, we will get there as a people.)
The Perfect Pitching competition involves pitchers attempting to hit as many bats as possible, which, OK, doesn’t sound optimal, but the bats are batterless, and it would give Aroldis Chapman something to be good at again. This year, LHP Hyun-Seung Lee of the Doosan Bears won it in a ~sudden death~ round. Sudden death! This feels like a no-brainer.
There’s even something for those They-Fan DH Haters Club members out there: RELIEF PITCHER Yoon-Dong Kim of The Kia Tigers cleaned up at the Perfect Hitter competition. The event features hitters trying to hit balls off a tee to hit targets scattered across the field.