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  • MAJOR LEAGUES

    A's formula has served them well

  • OAKLAND, Calif. — The Athletics barely cleared their throat and the Giants stayed stone silent as the non-waiver trade deadline passed Wednesday, which should answer the question of how each general manager feels about his team.
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  • OAKLAND, Calif. — The Athletics barely cleared their throat and the Giants stayed stone silent as the non-waiver trade deadline passed Wednesday, which should answer the question of how each general manager feels about his team.
    San Francisco's Brian Sabean trusts what he has seen the past few seasons and will take his chances with 2014 and beyond.
    Oakland's Billy Beane likes his team right now and loves its potential for the future.
    Though their phones stayed hot right up until the 1 p.m. deadline, both executives likely are right about their clubs and, given their trade options, most assuredly were prudent to sit tight.
    The Giants weren't ready to dismantle the core of a team that has won two of the past three World Series, nor should they. It makes sense for Sabean to believe a rebound is coming and, regardless, he will have far greater financial flexibility after this season.
    Meanwhile, the G.M. was blunt in his assessment of trade proposals, most of which sought at least one of three players among Tim Lincecum, Javier Lopez and Hunter Pence, all free agents after the season.
    Sabean acknowledged aiming high, said no one came close to meeting his requests and therefore nothing was done.
    That's the smart move. Play out the remainder of this lost season, reset over the winter and see if there is a place on the 2014 Giants for any or all three of the aforementioned.
    The A's, by contrast, are in such fabulous position to roll into their second consecutive postseason that Beane's only move — a Tuesday night trade to acquire utility infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Angels — was more of a luxury than a necessity.
    The Callaspo deal makes Oakland a marginally better and surely deeper club than it was two days ago, and that bunch was good enough to be six games up in the American League West.
    There is the expectation that ace right-hander Bartolo Colon, among the players linked to the Biogenesis scandal and therefore under the threat of suspension, will be available for the rest of the season. It is anticipated that left-hander Brett Anderson, who has missed the last three months, will return in mid-August.
    "That'll feel like another acquisition," manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday.
    In addition, gifted young right-hander Sonny Gray is lurking in the background.
    As good as veteran right-hander Jake Peavy is, the A's had no urgent need for him. And they have no need for Peavy at all if, as sources say, it was going to cost them shortstop Addison Russell and Gray — two of the best prospects in baseball.
    Russell and Gray are two of the reasons Beane believes, rightfully, the A's can be better two or three years from now. Those two, along with outfielder Michael Choice, are projected to have All-Star ability in the majors.
    Potential trade partners locking in on them would be sent away by Billy, who is in no mood to jeopardize the future by placing all his chips on a team with zero hitters cracking the A.L. All-Star roster.
    The "wow" deal in late July is harder than ever to pull off. Once a staple of summer, it has gone the way of the 300-inning pitcher, a casualty of baseball's sabermetrics revolution and its more conservative executives.
    "We're all evaluating players the same way," Beane said recently. "Big clubs are less likely to give up their younger players. Very few teams will give up a good young player to take that shot."
    Sabean wanted exceptional young talent, and nobody was offering. Beane has good young players and was unwilling to move them for a rental player. Each G.M. took the appropriate approach for his circumstances, neither pressed and both should and will accept what they have.
    For the Sabean and the Giants, it's two recent championships and an identifiable nucleus going forward: Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and maybe Pablo Sandoval.
    For Beane and the A's, it's the formula that has served them well the past two seasons: Pitching and patience and mirrors.
    They're in first place. Texas, the only threat to challenge, likely will lose a crucial member of its lineup — right fielder Nelson Cruz — to a Biogenesis-related suspension, perhaps this week.
    There will be a playoff atmosphere Friday when the Rangers come to the Coliseum to begin a three-game series that will mean a lot more to them than to the A's. That's the advantage of being in first place, and knowing even better days could be on the way.
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