A's stand pat at Trading Deadline
Rebuilding takes a break as team tries to get back in race
OAKLAND -- No one is willing to concede that the flurry of trade rumors swirling around the A's in recent weeks affected their play, but the results suggest otherwise.
Might the theoretical cessation of the rumors help Oakland get back to its winning ways? Closer Huston Street, the player whose name was most often bandied about in the week before the Deadline, hopes so.
But when asked if the passing of the Deadline might bring some relief, he seemed keenly aware that more deals can be done -- as long as players first clear waivers.
"It's not done until the season's over," Street said Wednesday after taking the loss as the visiting Royals completed a three-game sweep at McAfee Coliseum. "I'm not going to feel any different on August 1 than I do now."
Like his players, A's manager Bob Geren refused to admit that the pre-Deadline chatter was a distraction for his club, but he also sounded eager to get the focus back on the field.
"It's that time of year when [rumors run] rampant in a lot of clubhouses," Geren said. "I try to let the guys know that it's not worth worrying about things you can't control."
The A's flew across the country after Wednesday's loss to enjoy a day off in Boston, where they open a three-game series at Fenway Park on Friday under .500 on the year for the first time since April 6.
Oakland's slide from contention has been hastened by an MLB-worst 2-10 record since the All-Star break, the last day of which saw Oakland general manager Billy Beane send Opening Day starter Joe Blanton to the Phillies for three prospects.
Nine days earlier, on July 8, Beane sent his ace, Rich Harden, and another member of the team's season-opening starting rotation, Chad Gaudin, to the Cubs for unproven starter Sean Gallagher, catching prospect Josh Donaldson, utilityman Eric Patterson and outfielder Matt Murton.
Gallagher is 1-0 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts with the A's, but Murton and Patterson went a combined 3-for-40 with Oakland before their respective demotions to Triple-A Sacramento.
Since the Harden trade, the A's are 5-13, and the players who were rumored to be on the brink of following Blanton out of town have struggled during the slide.
Since July 10, Street is 0-2 with two blown saves in three chances and a 6.25 ERA.
"I think I've played for three National League teams and nine American League teams in the past week," Street said Tuesday.
All-Star Justin Duchscherer, said to be headed for Colorado for the past 10 days or so, is 0-2 since the All-Star break and gave up a career-high eight earned runs over six innings against the Rangers his last time out.
"It's not the trade rumors," Duchscherer said. "It's not making great pitches against a great-hitting team."
And lefty reliever Alan Embree, like Street said to be headed to a number of teams in July, went 0-1 with a blown save and a 10.29 ERA in nine appearances during the month.
"I don't think you can make any correlation," Embree said.
Neither does Beane, who has consistently refused to comment on deals he didn't make. He announced that he was rebuilding when he traded All-Star righty Dan Haren in an eight-player deal in December, and the rebuilding process continued in July.
Will August bring better times? Nobody knows. But Geren assumes it'll at least bring more peaceful times.
"If it's on the players' minds," Geren said of rumors, "you're happy to get it off."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.