I hate to quote a band my parents listen to, but it's appropriate for A's fans to hear right now: “You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well, you might find, you get what you need.”
Another trade deadline passed without any major fireworks in Oakland on Wednesday. Billy Beane didn't pull off a blockbuster trade to bring in Chase Utley, Michael Young or Jake Peavy. Instead, he made a subtle, necessary move by acquiring utility man Alberto Callaspo on Tuesday, giving the A's exactly what they need for the stretch run.
This isn't to say the A's couldn't use a veteran like Utley in the clubhouse. He would have filled a hole at second base, provided leadership, and added some pop to the top of the order. If the team had the words “Yankees,” “Dodgers” or even “Giants” stitched across its jerseys, Beane could have swapped a prospect like Sonny Gray for Utley without thinking twice.
But the A's don't need Utley. They need a flexible infielder, which is why they obtained Callaspo.
The seven-year veteran gives manager Bob Melvin more of what he loves when he's filling out his lineup card: options.
Callaspo is a switch-hitter who has played in 508 games at third base, 217 games at second base and 32 at shortstop. He'll play a good majority of his innings at second, but he can step over to third to give Josh Donaldson a breather or play shortstop to get Eric Sogard into the mix.
Melvin rarely uses the same lineup two days in a row and the Callaspo trade gives him even more hands to play at the table.
But Callaspo, a career .273 hitter, isn't going to match Utley's power and offensive production, which is fine. The A's don't need that out of him. To make a playoff run, they just need their big bats to wake up.
In some ways, it's shocking that the A's are 18 games above .500 with a comfortable lead in the American League West. Yoenis Cespedes is batting .229, Josh Reddick is hitting .214 with five home runs and Chris Young is really slumping with a .192 batting average, nine homers and 30 RBIs.
Last year, Cespedes and Reddick combined for 55 home runs and 167 RBIs, a potent 3-4 punch. But right now, Reddick is still hitting in the No. 8 hole and Cespedes is just starting to heat up, going 7-for-19 with seven RBIs over his last four games.
If Cespedes starts to hit the ball like he did last year, his production alone will exceed anything the A's could have obtained via trade. If Reddick or Young can come alive, too, the A's batting order will be respectable from top to bottom, especially with Callaspo's versatility.
It's easy to understand why the fan base wanted to see a big move. After years of watching the marquee names leave town for fresh, young talent, a blockbuster trade would have sent a clear message: ownership is committed to winning.
In reality, though, with the addition of Callaspo, everything the A's really need is in the clubhouse.
Paul Gackle is a contributor to The San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @GackleReport.