A's GM Billy Beane appeared on the "Athletics After Dark" podcast to discuss his team's winter moves, including a few that weren't made. Here are some of the highlights…
On his overall satisfaction with Oakland's offseason…
- "It was probably the busiest offseason we've all had since I've been here and we think it's very, very productive."
- "When it's all said and done we're very pleased with how the winter shaped up. We improved the offense which we set out to do, and we did it without taking away from a very good defensive team that we had last year. We were able to improve the pitching which I don't think was necessarily something we set out to do other than maybe looking at the fifth starter spot….While we did need to address the offense, the pitchers that were available were going to help us give up less runs, so in turn we wouldn't have to score as many runs, which is a non-linear way of approaching the issue."
- "We're always optimistic and I think we're also realistic, too. Quite frankly, I've got a very, very good relationship with [Scott Boras] and I really enjoy dealing with him. He's probably one of the best, if not the best, representatives out there."
- "Scott was honest with us from the outset of the winter about what he wanted. It took a while, but [he] ultimately achieved that, and that was beyond our means. I had no problem with the way the thing played out except for the fact that [Beltre] went to one of our rivals and I think significantly improved [the Rangers]."
- "Usually you go into the free agent period thinking a player might cost you a certain amount, and in many and most cases, it ends up being more than what you thought it was originally going to be."
On if he feels Beltre and Boras saw Oakland's offer just as a stepping stone to offers from other teams…
- "Ultimately they're trying to do what serves their clients best, and in some cases, if it means finding ways to extract more compensation, that's part of the deal….I don't have a problem with that, and I don't think at any point during the process they were disingenuous with us."
- Beane pointed out that Iwokuma was only a year away from free agency, which is unusual since most Japanese players who gets posted are years away from free agency.
- Beane said the gap between the Athletics' offer and Iwakuma's contract demands wasn't as wide as reported. "Publicly it looked like we were farther off than we really were," Beane said. "We were actually on the same page…If you factored in what we had to pay for the posting, and then the contract that we were willing to give, it came out to about what they were looking for on a yearly basis."
- Beane isn't sure if the A's will pursue Iwakuma next winter, but the team "will certainly be monitoring that situation."
On Oakland's impressive young pitching staff…
- "If you've got good pitching, particularly starting pitching and it's young, you've probably accomplished about 60-65% of what you need to do to be a contending club."
- "In most cases, I think clubs realize they're [Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez] not the type of players we're going to discuss. That's why it's not so easy sometimes when people say 'Hey, they need a big bat,' you've got to understand that those big bats that people might want to trade, the first players they're going to ask for are those young pitchers. The challenge here is not robbing Peter to pay Paul when you're addressing your weaknesses. That's why we had to be very specific with who we went after and make sure that we didn't take away from the part of the club that made us very successful and ultimately will be very important for us going forward."
- "You can look at players and say 'Hey, this would be a perfect fit,' but in a trade situation, if it's the perfect fit, in many cases it would cost us one of those pitchers."
On a recent piece from Bob Klapisch of FOXSports.com, saying that Beane may step down if the franchise isn't allowed to move to San Jose…
- "I feel very fortunate, I love this franchise and I love being here. As much as rebuilding sounds like it's exhausting and we all like to win, it's also very exhilarating when you start to see progress. The fun of that part hasn't stopped for me, and until it does, I'll continue to do something I'm very proud to do, which is run this club."