Isn’t the point of stocking the farm system, accumulating pitching that’s young and high-end and signing them to long-term contracts to bypass their arbitration years meant to help the organization win?
The Athletics were picked to win the American League West last year by multiple outlets, in part, because of that young pitching.
But they’ve already traded Trevor Cahill in spite of Cahill being signed to a long-term contract and being a solid—if slightly overrated—innings-eating arm; they’re listening to offers on Gio Gonzalez and, once he proves he’s recovered from shoulder surgery, are sure to part with Dallas Braden as well. (Be funny if he’s traded to the Yankees.)
Am I missing something? How many more times is this going to go on unchecked by the media at large?
And why does Billy Beane continually get a free pass for what he’s doing based on nothing other than the factually inaccurate and twisted tale of Moneyball (book and movie)?
Is it because he’s a guarantee of webhits and attention for those who write about him glowingly? Is it due to his aura of a fearless and ruthless corporate entity that rose from a failed baseball player without a fancy college degree to the top of his industry?
Doesn’t it matter what’s true?
Whether or not Beane is lauded for the prospects he receives in trades is secondary—the objective truth is that he’s been relegated to throwing things at the wall and hoping that they work. Last year it was rely on the young starters, beef up the bullpen and sign affordable bats.
It failed—just as everything else he’s tried has failed since the last teardown in 2007.
We can go through his entire history and find evidence of this type of randomness masqueraded as a “plan”.
It’s a lie.
After repeated builds and rebuilds, the A’s are awful and trapped in a division that contains two powerhouses in the Angels and Rangers; the Mariners are similar to the A’s in that they have an executive who came from the same thought processes as Beane in Jack Zduriencik, but are also a figurative disaster.
Is the absence of a new ballpark the latest reason for Beane to demolish what he built? How many times does the same architect get to blueprint, construct, try to sell and then bulldoze even if he owns 4% of the property (Beane’s ownership stake in the Athletics)?
The A’s aren’t going to get approval for a new park in San Jose no matter who lobbies, cajoles, bribes, takes to the media and whines. It’s not happening.
They’re a ramshackle structure in a dilapidated and unfriendly ballpark trapped in a high-end divisional neighborhood and—Beane or no Beane—that’s not going to change.
In short, the Athletics are an eyesore run by a man with a reputation and backstory with no practical evidence behind the myth. He’s a creation based on having turned market inefficiencies into opportunities; once those market inefficiencies were discovered and exploited, they were copied and he was back where he was when he took over Athletics GM and had to find a different way to compete.
And he can’t do it.
He was an innovator in that he implemented the strategies, but it wasn’t the work of a genius—it was intelligent opportunism. Now he’s manipulating the belief in his “genius” to do what he wants and again endure 2-3 more years of losing under the guise of lack of funds and other issues that the Moneyball character Beane would roll his eyes at and refer to as excuses for being a loser.
Now Cahill (age 23 and signed at $30 million through 2015) is gone. Gonzalez and presumably any other player in whom an opposing club has interest will be out the door as well.
Judgments of the trades and prospects they receive in cleaning house are irrelevant; the A’s are starting over. Again.
Beane’s taking advantage of his infomercial-style reputation to lose, lose and lose repeatedly and few are willing to confront this reality in a nod to selfish interests and it’s gone on long enough.
Once it becomes trendy to criticize him, then the bandwagon will empty.
How many more managers can he fire? Players can he trade? Whisper winking, underlying complaints that the “system isn’t fair”?
The system supposedly wasn’t fair before and that’s how he became famous as the epitome of one who beat a system that was weighed against him to begin with.
The system was never fair. That was the foundation for his rise.
He’s being exposed for what he is and is still given a pass.
When is this going to end? When will Beane be judged for what he truly is? A mediocre GM and crafted entity who’s using that perception to shield himself from rightful scrutiny?