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."
On the Athletics' pursuit of Adrian Beltre…
- "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."
On Oakland's attempt to acquire Hisashi Iwakuma…
- 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."
Instead of moving the A’s to San Jose he should just come be the GM in LA after Colletti gets fired by whoever buys the team from McCourt
You’re welcome for Colletti… and Schmidt. Enjoy Valez.
Beane is one of the finest and most intelligent GM’s in the game. Always refreshing to hear his thoughts.
I’m so glad that Beane’s got an stake in the team. I would guess that that is one of the things that will continue to keep his heart in Oakland.
If this guy ever gets a good park and, in turn, some more money to play with, watch out.
People always cry about the park factor to make money. Win games and 9 times out of 10 the fans will come. Tampa Bay is somewhat of an exception, but they sucked for a long time so 2-3 or good seasons is not going to wash all that away.
Beane is over-rated. He had one magical run and since then everyone has painted him out to be a genius. The Marlins have won a World Series recently;y and always seem to remain competitive. I don’t see anyone claiming those guys are geniuses….
Nice try, but Al Davis destroyed that stadium, fella.
When the A’s were one of the best teams in baseball in the late 80’s and early 90’s, they drew 30,000+ four years in a row.
When the A’s were one of the best teams in baseball in the early 2000’s, they never drew more than 27,000.
In 2006, when they went to the ALCS, they drew ~24,000.
Sure, winning helps, and the A’s haven’t drawn as many fans recently because they haven’t been winning much recently. But all you have to do is look across the bay to get a good picture of what’s going on.
In terms of regular season success over the past six years, the A’s and the Giants have played pretty similar ball. The A’s have two winning seasons, three losing seasons and a .500 season. They Giants have two winning seasons and four losing seasons. But wait, you have to win games to draw fans, right? The Giants draw 35,000+ regardless. How is that possible for a mediocre team that lost more games than it won in four of those six years? Wait… What’s that you say? They’re playing in 10-year-old stadium that is typically regarded as one of the best in the game? Oh… That makes sense.
In short, give me a break. You have no idea what you’re talking about.
Agreed, the Coliseum is horrible for baseball. What other MLB team still even shares their park with an NFL team?
That stadium is 40 years old, in a bad area, was ruined to accommodate the Raiders (who don’t sell out anyway), has seats that are too far from the field, etc, etc, etc.
I’m a Giants fan, but it is time for MLB to step in a broker a fair deal to give the A’s the rights to San Jose, where they at least have a chance to make a go of it.
Tommy Jefferson Feliciano
For the record, the Marlins is the answer to your question.
Thank you. I knew there was another. However, the Marlins move into their new park next year. The A’s have nothing even in the works.
So all you pointed out was a stadium difference. Is Lincecum not more marketable than any player on the Athletics? could that not contribute? People were flocking to the Giants just to show support after Bonds left too, does that not factor into the equation? Isn’t Wrigley an old stadium yet they continue to draw fans?
Not to mention, did not the team of late 80’s early 90’s have some very marketable players. Titans of their time Canseco, Henderson, McGuire, Henderson. Not some moneyball dudes that no one outside huge baseball fans will recognize.
Bottom line is no one gives a damn about the A’s, real fans don’t stop attending a game just because of the Stadium, they want a consistent winner not a good 4 year run and then get rid of all the players, wash and repeat. You are excluding many factors, but hey no one wrote a book on it so I guess you don’t have anything but a rehashed opinion.
I’m an avid A’s fan who watches every game on TV or catches them on the radio. I only go to a handful of games each year because the stadium is such a pain. Granted, it’s not so bad if you’re in your seat the whole time, but everything else is a poor experience.
The concession line setup blocks all the thoroughfares in the stadium making walking around a battle, the bathrooms are terrible and still use the dreaded trough, the surrounding neighborhood is dangerous and there’s nothing to do near the stadium anyway. BART isn’t even as convenient as they make it out to be; sure it stops right at the stadium, but does anyone tell you that it runs at a snails pace in the East Bay compared to the peninsula? Do they tell you that nearly all of those 10,000 fans at the game take BART so that you’re sardined into a train for the ride-that-should-take-less-than-30-minutes-but-really-takes-an-hour-back-to-SF?
This is the average experience at an A’s game now, and I haven’t even mentioned the eyesore that is Mt. Davis. Before the Raiders moved back to Oakland, the Coliseum had a beautiful horseshoe shape to it that gave you a panoramic view of the Oakland hills. In those days, there was no place better to be in the summer than the bleachers of an A’s game. Now it’s a concrete donut, and you can’t see anything but the sky from it.
Aside from the team-preference, there’s no comparison to the Giants’ stadium. It’s better in every way, and it sells out because it offers an enjoyable experience to everyone in attendance. Those who still go to A’s games are the diehard fans who need to see baseball in person. Those who go to the Giants games are the same crowd, but they’re able to coax their non-baseball friends and family to go with them because it’s such a fun atmosphere inside, and that’s how you fill up seats.
First off, why would I point out anything other than a stadium difference when my original point was that the A’s would have more money to spend if they had the increased revenues that a new stadium would bring?
Next, way to change your argument. First, all it takes to draw fans is winning. Now, since you realized that the A’s have won quite a bit over the past decade, it’s because they don’t have any marketable players? Which one is it? (By the by, guys like Zito, Mulder, Hudson, Tejada, Chavez and Giambi were among the best in the game when they played in Oakland. Was it really that those guys weren’t marketable because they weren’t good enough or were they not marketable because Oakland isn’t marketable? Hmm…)
And what’s this about people flocking to SF to show support after Bonds left? What? Figures aren’t up for 2010 yet, but right after Bonds’ last season, the Giants saw a sharp drop in attendance.
Finally, who cares about “real fans” when you’re talking about money? My original point was that Billy Beane would be even more effective if he had more money to play with. And a new stadium would bring in more money, “real fans” or not.
I really have no idea what point you’re trying to make here, fella. Can you help me out?
First off, if you had no idea of my point why did you bother creating the first long post and telling me I had no idea on what I was talking about. MY first post said win and fans/revenue will come. That statement was made because the original poster listed a poor stadium and low revenue as the reasons why Beane couldn’t compete.
Now when I said “Win” I meant a consistent winner. The White Sox have a good stadium and they were complaining about fan support (Williams recent comments). So it’s obvious a stadium is not the only factor that contributes to a lack of fan support. I then referenced the old A’s, a point your brought up I might add, to show how they were different from the winning A’s teams of the early 2000 period. If you want to try and tell me Zito, Mulder, Hudson, Tejada, Chavez, and Giambi rivaled the popularity of Canseco, Henderson, McGwire then we might as well end the conversation now.
The point is to stop crying about a stadium and win games with consistency and the other stuff will work itself out. And I don’t mean .500 ball or a fly-by night run and then lose all your players.
You’re way off on the statement made by the original poster, buddy.
The original poster (me), said, “If this guy ever gets a good park and, in turn, some more money to play with, watch out.”
How does that, in any way, imply that Beane can’t compete? Obviously Beane can compete. On a shoestring budget, he’s guided the A’s to eight seasons with 87 or more wins. He tore the whole thing down in 2007 and it only took him three years to rebuild to a .500 record. And, if you look around, you’ll find a lot of people picking the loser of the A’s/Rangers race for the AL West to win the Wild Card.
So there’s no argument about whether or not Beane can compete. My point was that he’ll be even more dangerous if he ever gets a significant amount of money to spend.
No one is crying about payroll or a stadium here, fella. I’m just saying that a new stadium would be a great thing for this club. And, obviously, it would. There’s no arguing that.
PS – Those eight years with 87 or more wins? Those were consecutive. From ’99 through ’06. And the A’s won 93+ games in four of those seasons. Do you really want to call eight years of consistent success a “fly by night” run?
Well at least we are now speaking in respectful tones.
couldn’t compete is how I read “watch out”. you “Watch out” for a team that’s competing for a World Series.
Success to me is the playoffs. The average fan does not get excited about a team with a winning record who does not make the playoffs. They want October Baseball, national news coverage etc. Therefore from ’99 to ’10 there were 4 post season runs. Better than many teams in that span, but not enough to overcome general apathy in a fanbase.
Tommy Jefferson Feliciano
Don’t forget that the Giants, like the Dodgers, are a transplanted New York team. That absolutely affects their marketability.
It’s the chicken and the egg. You NEED money to win, consistently. Any team can have a good run in a season or even string together a few good years with a couple of prospects that turn out to be superstars. However, it is VERY difficult to win consistently with a payroll in the bottom 1/4th of baseball.
The facts are facts – small market teams will ALWAYS be limited with how much money they bring in the gates. It’s beyond ticket sales. TV deals now make up a huge portion of the revenue and when you sit in a crappy TV market that can kill you.
As for the Marlins – Beinfest is a genius. One of the very best minds in baseball. Beane is right there as well. In fact, there are probably 10 or so guys that are reasonably interchangeable. Guys that if given the resources could most likely assemble perennial winners.
Location, location, location … more important factors that winning when it comes to bringing in revenue. Money, money, money is the most important factor when it comes to long-term success (sustained excellence for 6+ years). Sure there are exceptions but that is the rule.
Look I’m not arguing that a new stadium isn’t needed or it doesn’t contribute to a team’s revenues. I’m saying that’s not the only solution to the problem. Why should a city foot the bill for a new stadium before the owner has shown a willingness to expand payroll and do what it takes to bring in a winner.
Like you say, it’s the chicken and egg.
I just find it amazing that so many people beg for owners to get financed new stadiums at government’s expense. These owners are billionaires, the only reason why this “greatly needed” new stadium hasn’t been built, is because they are being greedy. I thought those uncovered financial documents posted by Deadspin proved this belief.
Check your facts. The Marlins have been to the playoffs once in the last 10 years. The A’s have been to the playoffs 4 times in the last 10 years. The A’s won 81 games last year and still finished last in attendance (behind the Marlins).
Don’t get me started on Billy Beane. “Monitor the situation on Iwakuma.” What a tool.
When is ownership going to can him?
I’m confused, would you rather he not do his job by not monitoring the situation on a player who will be a FA next year?
All it is is lip service from Beane; he never negotiated in good faith. Billy Beane had no intention of signing Iwakuma; he simply wanted to keep him away from Texas and Seattle. It’s no coincidence that Billy Beane is the only GM to never get a deal done with a Japanese import.
So he should not try to sign him, and just let him go to a rival? I’d think making a competitor worse is a good idea. And that’s assuming you are right about him not wanting to sign him, when by all accounts it was Iwakuma’s ridiculous asking price that kept him from signing.
Yes, Iwakuma’s asking price was ridiculous. Nevermind his agent had negotiated other Japan to MLB deals and knew the score.
Billy Beane was right and Iwakuma was wrong, right?
Keep thinking that.
The posting procedure will have to be changed now because of this clown.
He has one year until free agency, so why not ask the moon? I’d do the same thing if I were the agent. It’s either get a ton of money from the A’s, or be an open-market player that can go anywhere? So it makes absolute sense that he would ask for a ridiculous amount of money, even if he “knew the score”.
I hope you are right. The posting process is a total joke. Why Japanese players get posted, Latin American players simply sign, and American kids get drafted is beyond idiotic. Level the playing field for everyone so that all teams have equal opportunity to add new talent to their teams through an international draft.
They get posted because their rights belong to their Japanese club. If they are free agents then they dont have to be posted. Good luck convincing Japanese clubs to let their prized assets enter an international draft for nothing in return.
Beane has never signed a Japanese import? Keiichi Yabu says hi. That went well.
Yabu was a FA, I don’t think Beane has gone through the posting process successfully. I am the biggest Beane fan there is, but I just wanted to point that out.
When is ownership going to can one of the best, if not the single best General Manager in baseball? I don’t know. Probably when he decides to retire.
The best based on what? The 2001 season?
The Angels have been one of the better teams in baseball for the past decade, so they’ve given the A’s trouble. The A’s have not won the division every year, but they’ve been at or near the top in every year sense Beane took over (with a couple of “rebuilding” years). I wouldn’t be suprised if the A’s have payed less money per win in the last decade than anyone else in the league.
Give Cashman $50m and let’s see how he does. Or even Epstein. The guy looks like a genius but he’s got 3x’s the resources to improve his team.
Beane is one of the most efficient GM’s in baseball. Not his fault that the team doesn’t have a decent revenue stream.
Signed … not an A’s fan
A lot of people look at “Moneyball” and think that Beane’s a genius. Now, I happen to think that he is a very good GM, but there’s something that most people forget. The A’s have not only not won a World Series in the Moneyball era, they haven’t even been to one. And they haven’t won an AL West division championship in a LONG time either. This year represents the team’s best chance to win the West in several years, but to get there, Beane had to pick up players like Matsui and Willingham who don’t fit the Moneyball mold. As such, that says one thing to me: in the long run, Moneyball doesn’t work. The A’s have some non-Moneyball players coming up through the system now (Chris Carter, Michael Taylor), which will probably put a full end to the Moneyball era once and for all. Then we’ll really see how good a GM Beane is.
As for the Moneyball movie… it’ll bomb big time, even with Brad Pitt in it. Why? No happy ending… no World Series victory, no AL pennant… it’s not a story of the small guy beating the big guy, it’s the small guy getting close and not making it. That doesn’t sell.
Scott Hatteberg as “Picking Machine,” will be enough to captivate audiences.
Most people who criticize Moneyball didn’t actually read the book. Anyway, there’s no denying the A’s haven’t won a World Series since Moneyball began, but I think it’s also no coincidence that the A’s down years began shortly after the book was released. They’ve reached the playoffs once since the book was published (twice if you count 2003 – the year it came out) and now Sabremetrics is a legitimate aspect of building a winning baseball team.
I know you’re arguing in the A’s favour – so this is a support to it. Sure the A’s haven’t won a WS since the book was published… but neither have 23 other teams.
Clearly you have no idea what ‘moneyball’ means. It doesn’t mean picking fat slobs that walk a ton and hit home runs. It means finding market inefficiencies and exploiting them. Defense undervalued? Spend money on defense and get a better return than you would spending the same amount on offense. It’s the same concept used in securities trading or any other business venture.
How is Carter, a guy who has a career minor league OBP of .380, not a “moneyball” guy? The guy is a real stud prospect.
I really like the way the A’s are going. They have the best defense in the majors, and a solid pitching staff with a guy who I think is an ace at the helm (I think he is a Cy Young canadite), and a well-improved offense. I think they willl win the AL West, and if they ever would need a mid-season upgrade, Beane is a guy I would trust to make a savvy move.
How do I delete a post?
Definitely looking forward to seeing opening day for them, and seeing who comes out as opening day starter since there are 3, maybe even 4 solid candidates for the spot. Willingham, DeJesus, and Matsui are going to be interesting in their switches to the colliseum, and we’ll see if Mark Ellis can pull off a “contract year” performance, if he does, then that’ll be fun to watch. Lastly, just like pretty much everyone said, that freaking pitching staff will be crazy good this year, and the improvement on an already awesome bullpen makes it even more exciting.
Man, I’m impressed with the pro-Beane comments. You guys nailed it. Moneyball isn’t about targeting one specific type of player; it’s about targeting the players that have a talent that is being overlooked or undervalued. Beane deserves the title of best GM in the game to have done what he has done in the last eleven years, with the amount of money and support he has had. And now he has his team primed for the post-season – a pretty much universally recognized “sleeper” amongst the baseball community in 2011.
I really admire what Beane did this offseason. It was obvious that the best FA hitters were not interested in playing in Oakland. To counteract that, Beane loaded up on bullpen talent. Apparently, the pitchers love the spacious confines of the Coliseum. I wouldn’t qualify the free agent relief pitching market as a market inefficiency, but it was clear that it was the best possible way for Oakland to add payroll this year. If they can stay healthy, Oakland will have the reliever trade market cornered mid-season, which just may net an impact bat at some point.
I feel like Joe Morgan is posting in this thread under 15 different accounts.
Also, to support the argument of what Beane got this year that was undervalued…
The relief pitching – okay, sure, he went after the big bopper in Beltre first, because the team was desperate for it. But it didn’t work out.
FA relievers are nothing new… but the last two offseasons, nobody wants to touch Type A guys that aren’t “can’t miss” type pitchers. So what does Beane do? Realize that his team has a protected first round pick, which most teams that are after Type A players don’t have, and therefore go after those players without fear.