Amidst much speculation about the future of the Athletics’ front office, the team’s chief baseball officials (executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane, GM David Forst, and assistant GM Billy Owens) are expected to continue working in Oakland for the 2021 season, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. In addition to Slusser’s sources, A’s manager Bob Melvin intimated during a recent discussion with Slusser and other reporters that the team’s front office trio would be returning: “It looked like at the beginning of the offseason that there might be several in that group not here. At this point, it looks like everyone will be back.”
The key factor seems to be that the proposed merger between RedBall Acquisition Corp (Beane is RedBall’s co-chair) and Fenway Sports Group LLC (the parent company of the Red Sox) doesn’t appear to be on track to get league approval before the end of the year. Had a deal gone through, Beane would have left the A’s due to the obvious conflict of interest. It isn’t clear when the commissioner’s office could weigh in on the merge, though as Slusser puts it, “Beane is likely to remain at the A’s helm through 2021.”
Had Beane left the team, Forst was seen as the logical candidate to take over the baseball operations department, with Owens the favorite to move up the ladder and become general manager. That said, both Forst and Owens received interest from the Mets and Angels for their front office vacancies, with Owens interviewing for both general manager openings. It doesn’t appear as if Forst even spoke with either team, as reports indicate he enjoys his job in Oakland.
Changes could still be coming to the A’s depending on Beane’s future business dealings, but for now, the Athletics will continue their rather remarkable front office stability. Beane has been with the team for over 30 years and atop the front office pyramid since October 1997, Forst has been with the organization since 2000, and Owens spent five seasons as a minor league hitting coach before moving into front office work in 2003.