Fate of A's All-Stars Says Everything This Year

All-Star Game roster selections are not in and of themselves foul for compelling examination (although they are typically better than the games themselves), especially so when you pretty much know whom your favorite teams will be sending to the event.
Ahh, but when your team is in the conundrum of deciding whether or not to trade its potential All-Stars . . . there you have something especially – well, huh?
The Giants will almost surely send Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford as top vote-getters at their positions, and even if Posey is caught by Chicago's Willson Contreras in the last four days, the National League catching lineup is bereft of other candidates unless you think Miami's only possibility is J.R. Realmuto, in which case manager Dave Roberts would take a third catcher.
The A's, on the other hand, won't have a starter but it is generally assumed that Jed Lowrie has the numbers to make the American League team as a backup (second in WAR, OPS+ and OBP among AL second basemen behind Houston's Jose Altuve, and that closer Blake Treinen might be one of the best at his craft this year – even though teams are fooling with the closer concept more than ever).
The difference between Posey/Crawford and Lowrie/Treinen, though, is that the Giants are likely to be either be buyers or idlers at the trade deadline, while the A's, who are clearly the better team, still struggle to get close enough to the Seattle Mariners to make the postseason a possibility and therefore more likely than the Giants to be sellers.
And who are the most coveted A's at this deadline, you ask? Go on. Ask it. Don't make me a liar. Do it. Now.
Okay, now that you've asked out of your own warped curiosity, those players would be Jed Lowrie and Blake Treinen.
This assumes, of course, that the Beane/Forst doesn't think the Mariners are catchable, and we have no reason to assume any such thing. This also assumes that the A's don't desperately need good results to juice a flagging attendance figure (15,846 per game and 28th overall, though close enough to Pittsburgh and maybe even the Chicago White Sox to dream lofty thoughts about 26th).
Seattle may be catchable, of course, because despite being seven games ahead, their Pythagorean record (their expected record given their plus-21 run differential) is 46-41 rather than 55-32, the largest positive discrepancy in baseball, and the A's, who are 48-39, would be 45-42 based non their plus-16 differential. That's one game rather than seven, meaning that Seattle could return to the mean if they'd stop being 26-11 in one-run games and 8-0 in extra inning games.
Oh, and the team doing worse against its Pythagorean number is Houston, who should be not 1½ games better than Seattle by that metric but 17½.
In other words, the A's have to decide if Seattle's overachievement will continue, if being the best non-playoff team will translate into more local interest, and if Billy Beane's stated desire to be no longer known as "He Who Sells Players.
And if the decision is that Seattle can't be caught, or that being the best non-playoff team has no value, or that Beane is still a serial prospect hunter/veteran discarder, then their two All-Stars might be attractive prospect-bait before the July 31 deadline.
That would be one more massive buzzkill for a team that needs to be anything but, but one should never assume that the A's have finally taken the building-for-now cure. They keep winning and winning and 13-3 winning, and at some point that has to catch on, right?
Well, right?

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