The Oakland A's were going to make a trade this week. They play in a stadium that turns into a toilet when it rains and generate less revenue than a team in Cleveland and still will head into the All-Star break as the very best team in baseball, and that is not something they take for granted. No matter how well they're built, in the era of $200 million payrolls, another team can always buy the talent the A's scrimp and scrap to generate.

So every little upgrade they've made – every signing of a player whose blemish they saw as an opportunity to extract value and every trade that worked in their favor – was for this moment, the sort they're not supposed to even consider. The beauty of the A's always has been that they consider everything. It's what makes them so good.

They considered, for example, David Price. Once they steeled themselves to trading Addison Russell, the precocious 20-year-old who was going to be their shortstop for the next seven years starting in 2015, the A's knew anyone was in play, including Price. They talked with the Rays. Permutations of a deal went back and forth. It never materialized.

And all the while, the A's were doing the same thing with the Chicago Cubs. This wasn't Plan B as much as Co-Plan A, because getting Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to fortify their rotation offered them the sort of starting pitching depth they actively work to acquire along with the one-two punch of postseason-ready arms to deal with the bats galore ready to shatter the glass slipper.