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Is Billy Beane Messing With Us?

I hate to keep plucking info from ESPN, but I can't ignore some good stuff from Peter Gammons's blog this morning.  Gammons quotes Billy Beane as saying this about Barry Zito:

"I have not had one call on Barry, nor have I made any inquiring about interest."

I find it hard to believe that Omar Minaya and Jim Hendry didn't do so much as place a single phone call about Zito's availability.  Were a dozen different sources misinformed about Zito trade rumors, or is Beane using Gammons to transmit a message?  We know Beane rarely talks to reporters other than Gammons.  The two have a quid pro quo type of relationship, according to Moneyball.

Gammons also mentions that MLB may already have a plan in place to contract four teams.  In addition, the Joey Gathright for Scott Olsen trade is still under consideration.  A no-brainer for the D-Rays in my opinion.


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Who would the four teams to contract be?

You have to take into account the following I guess:

1) Ownership
2) Profitability/Revanue
3) Lack of New Stadium
4) History

So I would say that the four most likely to go would be:

Tampa Bay
Kansas City

Eliminating four teams is so dumb you end up with uneven divisions again. Two makes so much more sense

Also imagine if those teams are contracted the glut of talent that would become available Cabrera, Willis, Santana, Mauer, Mike Sweeney, Billy Butler, Delmon Young, Carl Crawford

Hell if they do a draft there actually may be enough good players for the yanks to nab someone

Sounds about right, Zonis...based on our survey at


People want the D-Rays, Marlins, Royals, and Rockies contracted, in that order. No one wants the Twins to go but it seems quite possible.

I think your forgetting the Nationals, I'd assume MLB may just want them to go away and not have to bother with getting a stadium in Washinton.

Four Teams? Wow. That's quite a lot. That might alienate a little too many basbeall fans all at once.

I see nothing wrong with creating more teams in markets that care a lot about baseball - Perhaps a Boston NL team, or maybe another NYC team. I am also somewhat intrigued by the idea of a Puerto Rican team in the majors. Perhaps a DR team, or a Mexican team as well?

The problem with a contraction draft is the salaries. Say small market teams end up with the 1st few picks. Do they take players who have larger salaries or do they take a prospect? Then the larger market teams end up with the proven studs. Just like the amateur draft and international FAs.

MLB really only has 1 shot at getting rid of teams and its once the CBA runs out. I find it somewhat Likely they'll rid themselves of as many problems as they can at once. Who knows when they will have another shot to do it.

You know i'm a Twins fan but if there is a plan (i think there is) The first team on the list is the Twins simply the pohlads don't want the team. Carl's son jim was the one that convinced carl to keep the team and now he thinks it's time to get rid of the team too. So I will be forced to choose who to root for after a exile (i can't see myself giving up baseball forever)

I think contracting the drays would be dumb. Their offense is going to be sicknasty in the coming years and give the new ownership a chance. Contract the marlins, the rockies, the royals, and the nationals.

They're not going to contract the Nationals. They are going to turn into a cash cow. They turned a profit in their first year. I live in DC and the fans here are really supporting the team. They'd be crazy to leave that kind of a market. The stadium deal will get hammered out very soon.

Beane is smart. And has email. And talks to people.

Will, what is this email crap you spouting. Is that some nansy pants new fangled term for batting average? Dumb stat heads don't understand anything about basebal!

"Eliminating four teams is so dumb you end up with uneven divisions again. Two makes so much more sense" - Kyle

I agree. I wish they'd just knock off two, have two divisions per league (with 7 teams each), and have the division winners and two wild cards make the playoffs.


I live in the DC area and I would say the exact opposite about fan support. I just don't see it, expcet for converted old Senators fans. The main reason to contract the team though is that they are already MLB owned and won't have to be bought out. If they get contracted, one of the other dud franchises like Florida will likely move into the DC market.

I seriously dought that four teams would be removed. There would be too many lost fans of the game. The thought would be you take my team I stop watching baseball for a lot of people I believe. I think the Royals and Marlins are high possibilities. I hope the Twins stay but it does not seem like they will. Why not relocate these teams to places that want them. Like Portland OR, or Las Vegas or Mexico City, or the Dominican Republic. That way the top market teams don't get the high priced guys and no teams technically are eliminated. I have to admit though that I hate how the western divisions only have 4 teams and the NL Central has 6. All divisions should have 5 teams. IAnother option is f the Twins are one of the teams to go then have one of the NL Central teams move to the NL Central. Count out the Cubs for obvious reasons, Maybe put St. Louis or Houston in the AL Central. Cincinnati is not an option to change leagues since they are the first team ever in major league baseball and I dought they would choose the Pirates, but then again that would be possible. The Brewers have already been in the AL and the only way they switch over is if they get rid of the DH rule in the AL. Just some thoughts and Ideas for you all to mull over.

If contraction happens I like Idea of 2 divsions in each league that would make sure the best teams get into the playoffs. But what about adding a team to the playoffs let the 1 seed get a bye that would place a big value on being the best team and the other teams have 5 game series with the lowest seed left faceing the Number 1seed.

I wonder if they did eliminate four teams, if they would then move one of the teams from the NL central to a different division. I still think it's weird how they're the only division with 6 teams in it. I'd like them to move the Reds... they just plain piss me off. Always find a way to beat the Cubs even in years they suck ( aka every year)

Hey Jack, remind me the last time the Cubs won anything? Thanks.

PS: Over/under on Prior starts this year is 14.5

i HIGHLY doubt mlb officials have the forethought to already have a comprehensive plan in place for contraction. these people cant plan anything right, see the nationals situation, let alone something as complicated as a 4 team contraction and draft

there were be no teams in the DR, puerto rico or mexico.

Those places would not be able to financially support the team. They are poor areas, there is not enough money for people to toss out the equivalent of $40 USD for every home game. It's not going to happen.

Ed: Funny. The over/under on homeruns given up by Milton is 45.


I really doubt that baseball would put the Cards and Cubs in different divisions, let alone different leagues. Cards-Cubs rivlalry is easily one of the the top 2 or 3 rivalries in baseball.

In Moneyball, didn't Beane say he liked to use Gammons because he knows Gammons will talk?

Brewers Moving would be the most likely.

What the hell is going on? Why is the contraction comments under the Zito article?

Good Point Rome, I didn't think of that. Sorry So there goes that idea ok so that leaves Houston or Pittsburg leaving the NL Central.

Jack, I love the fact the Reds play the Cubs often. It makes it so we have someone to beat up on heheehe.. I truly believe the Reds would not be a team they would consider moving divisions. Pirates maybe, Astros Maybe. I think the Brewers, Cubs, Cardnals and Reds are pretty safe though from being moved to a different division.

Jelly, yes to your first question. To the second, these two topics fell under one post because Gammons mentioned both in his blog.

Forget about contracting teams. The real problem is owners. When you have people like Carl Pohlad, Kevin McClatchy, and David Glass owning teams, how can anyone in their right minds think those teams are going to be sucessful?


Florida Marlins
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks

Kansas City Royals
Pittsburgh Pirates
Toronto Blue Jays
Minnesota Twins

If they did contract teams, I would think that the players union would be dead set against a dispersal draft for players on the major league rosters. What if a 5 & 10 veteran gets drafted by a team on his no-trade list?

I'll take the under, but barely.

I like Darkwings proposal just get rid of all the expansion teams the problem is they arent problem teams Arizona and Colorado do fine financially there in a crappy division so they may be able to compete in the near future.

I still think contracting two teams would work best but I hope they do something contraction wide it would make every team so much better if they lowered the team number. It would also get rid of one of the causes of the spike in home runs.

Charlie Brown that is definately a hurdle they have to figure out what to do with the players some guys are just going to get screwed in this thing. If they dont do a draft though I dont know how this will work. I feel like they will also have to increase the salary cap with all these new stars becoming available


They may be considering contracting 4 teams, but I doubt they will, assuming they contract at all. But even if there somehow are 4 teams that get the axe, don't look for any major changes to the structure of the AL and NL. Keep in mind that Selig loves having 3 divisions and the wild card. And as we all know, Selig doesn't necessarily do what is best for the game, but rather what he personally likes...

The shame of this whole contraction thing is that The Brew Crew would be under severe consideration...but we know where Bud's heart is.

I dont think the Brewers would get any consideration at all they have a new stadium and are fairly profitable teams that would contracted are the teams not making any money ala Marlins, Twins, Royals, Devil Rays. Personally I want the D-Rays to stay but who knows


How do you have a half a start?

I will take the over

i doubt the devil rays get contracted.. they have a bright future it looks like (but hey, if they do, i won't complain -- some nice offensive players would be out there for the taking). i also think mentioning arizona is silly, they have good attendance, won a WS, and have one of the best core of offensive prospects (if not the best). its tough to come up with 4 franchises, theres almost no way that happens.. but i think it would be a combination of 2 of these 4 franchises:

rockies (mainly because they just cant win in that park)
twins (revenue)

I would bet the Twins and Marlins would be the two teams. Tim P. might get shot in the head if the twins move and i know who will do it.

Bob: I dunno. You'd have to ask Ed on that one--he came up with that line. Besides, I've studied Prior's delivery and mechanics, think he's a beast, and think he's going to have a monster year. If you'd set the over/under at 15 wins, I'd go over, so of course I think he'll make 15 starts.

The reason's for 1/2 numbers in point spreads is so there isn't a push. Just like when a football team is a 4 1/2 point favorite over someone. But that doesn't make a difference...the reason for my post was that Prior's history shows that he probably won't make a full season. That's all.

Honestly, I cannot see how this contraction thing is going to happen. The lawsuits that would flow from class-action fan suits and city and state governments would be a nightmare for the league.

In addition, do you really that Stu Sternberg would buy the Rays if there was so much as a whiff of contraction in the air? Do you not think he would have done the due dilligence to know this ahead of time?

Not gonna happen. Not in Tampa, not in Minnesota, not in Miami, not anywhere.

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