From the People Who Brought You Michael Ynoa…

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Michael Ynoa is a right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic who signed with the Athletics for a then-A’s record signing bonus of $4.25 million signing bonus in June of 2008.

He’s now 20-years-old and has thrown 9 professional innings in almost four years.

Ynoa had Tommy John surgery and is expected to pitch this season in the minors.

When he signed, his name was spelled Inoa; now it’s Ynoa. Whether there’s a Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia story and we’ll discover that he’s actually 43 in the future is unknown.

But back then, Billy Beane wasn’t criticized for the signing; he wasn’t criticized after Ynoa got hurt; and people have forgotten about the risk he took by making an investment in such a question mark while having little money to spend.

The only difference between then and now is that Beane’s status as untouchable and protected from the righteous indignation that other GMs are subject to has become more pronounced and gotten exponentially worse.

I’m not getting into saying the signing of Yoenis Cespedes is a good deal or a bad deal; that Billy Beane is betraying the tenets of Moneyball upon which his built his status as the Teflon GM; or questioning if the newest member of the Oakland Athletics, Cespedes, is going to be worth the 4-year, $36 million contract he’s reported to have agreed to.

That’s not what this is about.

It’s about Beane’s judgment being cast as unassailable because of a book, a movie and perception that he can do no wrong in spite of having done almost nothing but wrong since his last playoff team in 2006.

How is it possible to credit a man who is clearly just flinging things at the wall with no definable strategy? A man who’s hoping to get a new ballpark for his team and then have money to spend to attract players to come to his ballclub?

Does it make sense to trade the young pitchers Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey who weren’t making a ton of money and were part of the one strength the Athletics had—on the mound—for packages of young players and then turn around and use the money that the team was supposed to be saving on Cespedes? To keep Coco Crisp? To trade for Seth Smith? To sign Jonny Gomes and Bartolo Colon?

Anything can be justified by anyone if they’re sufficiently motivated, but how do you take seriously those who refuse to criticize someone for reasons that have nothing to do with the job he’s done, but because it conveniences them to shield someone like Beane from criticism because there’s a clear investment in the concept of him being what his fictional account says he is?

Ask yourself this: if these deals were made by Omar Minaya, Dayton Moore, Bill Bavasi, Tony Reagins, Ed Wade or even Ruben Amaro Jr.—any GM who’s invited ridicule for the money spent and trades made in recent years without a plan that is palatable to the outsider “experts” that judge baseball from the safety of their armchairs and newsrooms—what would be said?

Would this be called another brilliant maneuver or would it add another layer to the reasons they should be replaced?

Cespedes might make it. He might not. Judging from the clips I’ve seen of him, he’s an intriguing talent.

But there have been many intriguing talents who’ve been pursued due to the free agent status of Japanese, Cuban, Venezuelan and other countries for players not trapped in the MLB draft. Many of these players failed miserably.

The Yankees, Red Sox and even the Marlins could afford to sign Cespedes and have him be a bust. The Yankees and Red Sox because they have the money; the Marlins because of the Cuban population in Miami would come to the games—for awhile—because they signed a young, Cuban player with multiple talents.

Can the A’s afford it if he’s a bust?

If he is, will we see more excuses as to why it’s not Beane’s fault and he’s still “smarter than the average bear”?

And if so, will you still believe it?

How long are young going to allow yourself to be treated as a fool?

How long?

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So Billy Beane Gets Another Rebuild?

Ballparks, Books, CBA, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, Movies, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, PEDs, Players, Playoffs, Politics, Prospects, Spring Training, Stats, Trade Rumors, World Series

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?

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