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Bob Melvin: ‘Trade Was A Big Boost For Us’

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Bob Melvin (Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Bob Melvin (Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics have been the best team in baseball this season, but it’s hard to tell based on the standings. The A’s (66-40 entering play July 30) lead the Los Angeles Angels (63-42) by just 2.5 games in the AL West.

If Oakland played in any other division, its lead would be 6.5 games – at least.

Obviously the A’s would like to have a bigger lead, but on a positive note, are the Angels forcing them to stay sharp through the dog days of summer?

“I don’t think you ever want to be comfortable, to tell you the truth,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said on The John Feinstein Show. “What we try to do out here is just play each and every game and leave everything out on the field and move on to the next day – not worry about a series, not worry about the schedule, not worry about anything but today’s game. You always want to have that edge. I think no matter where you are, you’d certainly like to have a bigger lead no matter what. But it is what it is, and if you just focus on today’s game, that takes away a lot of the distractions.”

The A’s, of course, traded for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on July 5 to fortify their rotation. A manager will never say no to adding quality pitchers, but it does change the tenor of the locker room, no? With this move, Billy Beane has essentially told Melvin – and the entire clubhouse – that Oakland is going all-in this year.

“I think as far as the way the players look at it, they like our team (and) we feel like we have a good team, but when the front office is turning over every stone to try to make you better, it makes you feel really good as a club,” Melvin said. “The fact that we made that trade early means we have these guys a little bit longer and maybe (it’s) a little more impactful as the season goes along. So it was a big boost for us even though, like I said, we liked what we have. But anytime something like that happens, it does give you a little added boost.”

Samardzija, who has made five starts since the trade, is 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA, while Hammel hasn’t been nearly as sharp, going 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA.

Still, Oakland has won eight of 12 and is a virtual lock to make the playoffs. Melvin, in fact, doesn’t think Beane necessarily needs to make any more moves before Thursday’s trade deadline.

“You know what? I like our club,” Melvin said. “Billy’s great about trying to make upgrades, whether they’re incremental or whether they’re big-time ones like the trade we made (for Samardzija). They’re going to look at everything they possibly can. So we understand that. My job is to play with the club that we have right now. That’s what I do and I try to focus on our guys. I do like our team.”

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