Athletics' drive to always contend is admirable in today's times

Oakland exec Billy Beane continues to look for opportunities to make his big league squad better, as recent trades have shown. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Because Josh Donaldson won the American League MVP Award last year for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Athletics' decision to trade the third baseman will be forever dissected, like the Cincinnati Reds' swap of Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas. So long as Addison Russell mans shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, there will always be a debate about Oakland's choice to trade its top prospect for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in their push to win in 2014. The trades could have lasting impact on the organization.

But what cannot be questioned is Oakland's ability to renew or the Athletics' push to get better.

It has become standard operating procedure in the industry for struggling teams -- especially clubs with small or medium-sized budgets -- to eject themselves from competitiveness, to tank seasons or rebuild, depending on your preferred definition. But this has not been an acceptable option for Oakland, and even after the crushing late-season decline and a rough 2015 season, the Athletics are again building to get back to the top of the AL West.

The Athletics can say something that some other clubs cannot: They don't quit.