The A’s Are Just Doing What the A’s Have to Do

It’s a stunning reversal, is what it looks like. And it is a stunning reversal, if you just think about where the A’s were in the middle of last season. It was then that they dealt Addison Russell for shorter-term help. It was then that they dealt Yoenis Cespedes for shorter-term help. It was then that the A’s were very obviously going for it, and it was going well enough for them right up until the later innings in that game against the Royals. Now the A’s are shedding, only a handful of months later, and this isn’t what we’re accustomed to. Not from your average baseball team. The A’s are deliberately taking steps backward on the win curve.

They dealt Josh Donaldson. They dealt Brandon Moss. They dealt Jeff Samardzija. Of course, they don’t have Cespedes, and Jason Hammel is gone, and Luke Gregerson is a free agent, and Jed Lowrie is a free agent, and so on and so forth. You know what the A’s look like, because they’ve been one of the most popular conversation topics over the last few weeks. People everywhere are trying to figure out what Billy Beane is doing. The funny thing about it is Billy Beane is saying exactly what he’s doing, and why. The A’s are just doing what a team like the A’s pretty much has to do, if it wants to remain in any way competitive in the long-term.

I’d like to focus less on the specific moves. Maybe you think they should’ve gotten more from the Indians for Moss. Plenty of people think they should’ve gotten more from the Blue Jays for Donaldson. I don’t want to concern myself with whether the A’s are maximizing their returns and winning their deals. The truth of it is, we don’t know. We don’t know who’s winning a trade; we don’t know if anyone is winning a trade, at the time. With the A’s, I think the plan is pretty obvious. The execution? That’s questionable. But the plan is the only one that’s sensible.

Look at the Donaldson trade. What did the A’s get in return? Most immediately, in Brett Lawrie, the A’s got a major-league player, who will cost less money although he’s under control for one fewer year. Beyond that, there’s the bigger-time upside in the distant shortstop prospect, but the A’s also got a combined 12 years of big-league control over a pair of relatively low-upside arms who are close to ready to help. Cheap, long-term assets. Guys who could be around in 2019.

In the Moss trade, the A’s didn’t get a lot in Joey Wendle. Wendle, maybe, will be a minor contributor for cheap, a year or two or three down the road. But dealing Moss makes more room for Ike Davis, who the A’s picked up for free. Davis might be a little worse than Moss, but he’s also younger, without the injury questions, and Davis will cost fewer millions of dollars while he’s around. So there, the A’s might be making a minor downgrade, but there’s also upside, for less money.

And now Samardzija. You think Samardzija, and you can’t help but think about Addison Russell. If the A’s could do it all over again now, of course they wouldn’t have made that move. But prices are higher in the middle of the year, and the A’s gave it a shot, and when you give it a shot and it doesn’t work, you don’t just automatically have to lick your wounds and accept the consequences. The A’s gave up long-term assets to get Samardzija. Now they’ve turned Samardzija back into long-term assets, albeit inferior ones. But, look. Samardzija had one year left. Marcus Semien has six years of control, and he’s got an .860 Triple-A OPS as a middle infielder. Rangel Ravelo just posted an .860 OPS in Double-A as a 22-year-old, and he also has good discipline. Chris Bassitt just debuted in the major leagues. Josh Phegley has hit in the minors even though he hasn’t hit in the majors, and he’s a catcher with an excellent arm.

One year of Samardzija, a project in Michael Ynoa, and a presumed compensation pick for Samardzija as a free agent. Oakland took that and turned it into four guys, all of whom have had success at high levels, and all of whom could be contributors in short order. Low-ceiling contributors, absolutely. Semien is the prize, and he’s maybe a league-average infielder. But there’s a lot of years here of team control, years that won’t cost very much money, and a decent or average big-league performance for not very much money is what a team like the A’s needs a lot of in order to contend on a consistent basis.

The A’s were running out of long-term pieces. Beane himself said he saw a team in decline. It’s the one downside of years of success — success makes it harder to think about the long-term. What the A’s are trying to do, and what they’re mostly pulling off, is balancing the short-term evenly against the long-term. Maybe they went too far in one direction with the first Samardzija trade. Maybe they went too far in the other direction with the Donaldson trade. But think about your impression of the current A’s, and then look at the projected WAR.

Right now, in the American League, the 2015 A’s are in the middle of the pack. They’re about on par with the Indians and Rays. They’re absolutely not a great team, but they’re absolutely not a bad team. Maybe you figure the depth charts aren’t right. Maybe you figure the projections are too high on Brett Lawrie. But the actual important point is, the A’s haven’t stripped down to nothing. There’s still a mostly competitive ballclub here. The A’s project better than the White Sox. By a decent margin, actually. What’s skewing things is the direction the teams are going in. The White Sox are prioritizing 2015 more, and the A’s are prioritizing 2015 less, and given what we understand about the win curve that seems like the wrong move for Oakland. Additional wins are more valuable, and all that. But this is the reality of a team without money.

The Rays have talked about this before, too. They’re in the same boat. When you have a normal club, or a club with a lot of money, you think short-term. You think about seizing opportunities. Look at the Mariners right now, for example. More privileged teams can look at where they are on the win curve, and then try to push higher. You can push higher on the win curve because you have resources. The A’s have fewer resources, so if they were to push higher on the win curve, they’d get depleted quick. The A’s now don’t have Addison Russell. They’d sure like to have him! The advantage of being decently rich is you can take future resources to get better now, and you’ll still survive in the future. The A’s just can’t borrow against the future much. They can’t afford to push themselves up the win curve.

The advantage of that being, there’s no such thing as certainty. The A’s just went for it, and they were eliminated by the Royals, who weren’t necessarily a better baseball team. The A’s can’t get much higher on the win curve, but they also know they don’t have to be very good to have a successful season with a deep playoff run. It’s expensive to get into the upper tier of ballclubs. Yet, you don’t need to be in the upper tier to win.

And that’s how the A’s are operating right now. And now, think about the money saved. Think even about the money saved going from Moss to Davis. Guess what?

Last year’s opening-day Oakland payroll was about $82 million. At the moment, they have a 25-man roster projected for an opening-day payroll of a little under $70 million. Beane’s already said they’re not trying to slash payroll, so maybe the A’s have eight figures to play with all of a sudden. That’s not Jon Lester money, but that’s money that could be spent for short-term boosts to fill in the little gaps. The A’s now have available money to get better, after having made moves to push more security toward the seasons still to come. Now that they’ve made the tough decisions to improve the future, the A’s can throw some money around for the present.

You don’t have to love the moves they’ve made. Billy Butler signaled that the A’s weren’t trying to tear down and rebuild. Butler only makes sense for a team trying to win in the short-term. The A’s are also trying to win in the short-term, the short-term and the long-term, and Butler’s a 28-year-old with a good track record of hitting. Take a few steps back, and you understand the A’s are doing what they have to. Individually, specifically, in the details, maybe they haven’t made the best moves possible. But this is how it goes for them. The A’s try to operate such that the window never closes, and despite all the moves they’ve made lately, the window now isn’t closed, and the future window’s opening up a little wider.





Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

234 Comments
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Pirates Hurdles
7 years ago

But why not just keep Moss and forget about the whole Butler nonsense? Moss is better and costs less. The defending Billy Beane thing is getting real old, real quick.

AF
7 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Sullivan

You said his “plan is the only one that is sensible.” That is a defense and a strong one and at that. It is also a poor defense because you are ignoring that it would have been perfectly sensible for Beane simply to do LESS. He was in first place and loaded with top prospects including arguably the best SS prospect in the game. Why not sit relatively tight, keep studs like Russell and Donaldson, and be content with smaller pieces like Hammel, Fuld, Ike Davis, etc? Cost-controlled all-stars and potential all-stars like Russell and Donaldson even more indispensable for a team like that As than for large market teams that can afford to buy all-stars.

The problem isn’t that Beane’s plan is ill-conceived. It’s that he runs the As like a high-stakes gambler, or a day trader.

Kenny
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

“He runs the As like a high-stakes gambler, or a day trader.” Yes, yes, yes.

And for the 938th time: this costs more paying fans than the ballpark or the size of the city.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

Isn’t Billy Beane enough of a veteran GM to know when to trade off a potential All-Star SS (that is, never?).

It is just another in a string of moves that suggest that his moves are more like spaghetti thrown at the wall than strategically planned moves. Signing Eric Chavez to long term deal, while letting go of Miguel Tejada and Giambi for just picks (he at least learned from this). Trading Ethier away for Bradley, and Ethier had a higher WAR – THE NEXT SEASON! – than Bradley and then continued to produce. Trading CarGon, closer Huston Street, and others for Holliday, who he eventually traded down to nothing. Trading Hudson for nothing. I think Russell will be added to that list soon enough. How did his talent evaluators allow that to happen?

Antonio Bananas
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

You think consistently fielding a team of less known players who play competitive baseball disenfranchises a fan base, you should see what a roster of expensive old guys losing 90-100 a year can do.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

“…disenfranchises a fan base, you should see what a roster of expensive old guys losing 90-100 a year can do.”

Phillies avg 2014 attendance: 29,924
A’s avg 2014 attendance: 25,045

Bryz
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

@edgardiazrocks, you keep citing attendance numbers but completely ignore the obvious facts.

1) The A’s play in a dump and are constantly trying to move out of their stadium.

2) The Twins just built a new stadium and have been constantly losing attendance each season as they’ve lost 90+ games in 4 consecutive seasons.

You’re not comparing apples to apples here.

a eskpert
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

That’s not a valid comparison. The Bay area has another team (that was good).

Psy Jung
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

“Isn’t Billy Beane enough of a veteran GM to know when to trade off a potential All-Star SS (that is, never?).”

lol that’s ridiculous

baltic wolfmember
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

How many teams make the playoffs? Ten. So your odds of winning, at the beginning of the playoffs, the World Series is 1 in 10 or 10%. Not very good odds.
But wait: if you’re a WC team, than you have a 1 in 2 chance of not even making the ALDS–which is what happened to the A’s.
The odds of succeeding on such a gamble were so low, no day trader would take such a chance.
And I doubt that Beane didn’t understand this—which tells me that his owner told him to go all in, odds be damned.
Or that Beane has lost his mind.

Rrr
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

Giants’ success has nothing to do with A’s attendance. There’s very little overlap in fanbase, and the East Bay is certainly populous enough to support an mlb franchise without having to rely on sf or south bay support

Avattoir
7 years ago
Reply to  AF

“A’s play in a dump” – in the same market as MLB’s arguably best-run and unquestionably recently most successful franchise (Bill Veeck’s Veeck As In Wreck explains the sort of pattern an MLB should strive for – a serious WS run within the first 3 years of taking over, a team that’s pennant competitive not less than every second year – and by those standards, the Brian Sabean era is clearly eligible for top Veeckworthiness.), in the dumpiest of the 4 cities in the Bay area.

But don’t they carry out the optimal business model for a franchise confronted with money constraints? The Giants sell out* every game, have for years, and there’s nowhere else for a Bay area MLB fan of modest means to turn except Oakland. They seem like the ma & pa used & remnants book store carving out subsistence in the shadow of a huge national chain.

[*not to be taken literally]

Yirmiyahu
7 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Sullivan

Jeff, when you put it like that, you’re not saying much. Basically: “Beane is trading assets because the A’s are cheap and need long-term cost-controlled players.” I think everyone knows that. What people are questioning is the individual deals: why get rid of 4 years of cost-controlled Donaldson at all? why pay big money to an overrated free agent DH?

david
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

Billy Butler has played like he’s 35 since he was 25. His actual age is of no consequence.

Sandy Kazmir
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

The alternative is to do what the Twins did in keeping the band together, but not being able to make extensions so that you slowly bleed talent. The Twins were a juggernaut for a decade and haven’t won in nearly half that time. The start that burns twice as bright does so half as long. There’s a cost to everything. If you want to extend the length of the window then you have to agree that you can’t open it quite as much as you’d like to.

Even small market teams don’t have to operate this way, but they leave themselves more open to the wild boom/bust cycles that we’re seeing from Minny and Houston.

Pirates Hurdles
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

RE:Sandy, but that isn’t what Beane is doing at all. He traded 4 years of a better player for 3 years of Lowrie; gained only 1 year of a DH who is worse than his current player for more money; and dumped a borderline ace who he paid a top 10 prospect for in return for a far lesser prospect. He is not rebuilding in the normal sense of gaining player control and maximizing assets. He is shuffling the chairs on the deck of the titanic.

Yirmiyahu
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

I wouldn’t say Oakland is the Titanic. But it is definitely shuffling deck chairs. If Beane were just dumping salary, cashing out free-agents-to-be for prospects/youth, and targeting low-cost undervalued free agents, I wouldn’t bat an eye. That’s what the A’s need to do every year. But he’s moving guys around without apparent rhyme or reason.

Sandy Kazmir
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

I don’t see Samardzija as a borderline ace. Maybe he maintains the walk aversion, but maybe he doesn’t. They traded one year of a 3 WAR guy for six years of a 2 WAR guy that plays a position they haven’t competently filled since Mark Ellis left. Additionally, in that park you can manufacture pitching easier than probably anywhere else. If the entire league’s offensive output is trending downward then formerly mediocre pitchers suddenly become pretty useful. The Rays have been doing this for years. Make a pitcher look better due to the park and the defense and then sell then for what probably feels like a fair return.

Pirate Hurdles, it seems pretty silly to completely disregard the prospects that have been added through these trades. While they’re mostly not highly regarded I trust the A’s scouting department a lot more than whatever Google has told you about these players. The number one rule of prospecting is that quantity leads to quality. If one or two of these guys become useful regulars then there’s a ton of value and if one of them breaks out into a all-star calibre player then hooray. Lastly, you’re missing Jeff’s buried lede that the freed up money allows them to go out and plug a hole or three that could not be filled internally. For what looks like a small step back this year they’ve positioned themselves to be much better off in the long run.

Billy Beane wouldn’t apologize for you not being able to see that and neither would I.

Antonio Bananas
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

I can’t defend the butler deal but the Donaldson trade was because Donaldson was his best trade asset and possibly Beane thinks his best years have happened. Lawrie has a ton of upside. Lawrie has over 1,300 at bats in the majors at the same age Donaldson had like 32.

He’s trading being worse in 2015 for being better 2016-2020.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

“The alternative is to do what the Twins did”

Twins avg 2014 attendance: 27,785
A’s avg 2014 attendance: 25,045

Sandy Kazmir
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

I’m not really sure what attendance has to do with anything, really, ever. Gate is a drop in the bucket as far as revenue generation in this league.

Breadbaker
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

President when O.Co Coliseum opened: Lyndon Johnson
President when Target Field opened: Barack Obama

Age of Barack Obama when Target Field opened: 5

It’s really apples to oranges to compare the attendance at a crap facility with a reasonably good team to the attendance at what is still a novelty facility with a crap team.

Breadbaker
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

God, I wish we could edit comments. Obama, of course, was five when the Oakland Coliseum opened.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

“I’m not really sure what attendance has to do with anything, really, ever. Gate is a drop in the bucket as far as revenue generation in this league.”

Huh?So it doesn’t matter if a team actually fas fans or not?
From Forbes franchise evaluations last year …

Giants Revenue per Fan : $128
A’s Revenue per Fan : $44

There something to be said to building fan loyalty to certain players. To overpay for “brand loyalty” Giants fans can now look back fondly with their rooms filled with Panda gear that they paid top dollar for and A’s “fans” can only root for a logo and say, “Remember when we did that thing for Grant Balfour that one time, yeah, that was great.”

Attendance IMO is a good reflection of that.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

BTW:

Twins Revenue per Fan: $47

Pirates Hurdles
7 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Sullivan

No its a defense, you say “Take a few steps back, and you understand the A’s are doing what they have to.” This just isn’t the case at all. Donaldson, Moss, and Russell have greater value than Shark, Butler, Lowrie and more years of team control. The defense is that this is what small revenue teams do, but it isn’t at all. Good small revenue GMs don’t trade Russell, Donaldson (with 4 years left), or sign Butler. If this was being done by another GM, I really doubt we would be reading almost daily articles about why this kind of makes sense.

Bryan Curley
7 years ago

At the 2014 trade deadline the A’s were arguably the best team in baseball. They buckled down and fortified themselves by trading Russell for pitching, and it backfired. You can’t just lump midseason moves with offseason moves as the context for each is completely different. I always preach process over results, but something tells me had Oakland survived KC and made it to the World Series, you wouldn’t be looking at that Russell trade so negatively. As it turns out, Beane probably regrets that move and now sees more value in being a contender for a long period of time versus being a regular season juggernaut for a short period of time. You may not agree with the specific moves and may think he could have extracted more, but before you close the book on the 2015 A’s, why don’t we wait and see what he does with the ~$15MM he has left to spend>

That bar on 31st where they serve your beer in its can
7 years ago

I don’t have to wait and see what Billy Beane “does with his $15M” to know that it won’t approach the value he’d have gotten from Donaldson + Moss for the same $15M.

The Samardzija deal is not unreasonable. But Moss for a table scrap, Butler’s absurd inking, and the self-destructive Donaldson dumping cannot be rationalized for a 85-90 win team on a modest budget. The past several moves are simply an incoherent implosion.

Emperor Beane has no clothes, and no amount of Fangraphs articles arguing otherwise is going to change that.

Bill
7 years ago

I was a staunch defender of Beane, but his moves this winter are indefensible. Beane has always made rational moves in the past. Even the ones that didn’t work out were rational. I don’t see any reasonable explanation for this winter’s moves.

M@tt
7 years ago

But, teh right-handed POWERZ!

Reading helps
7 years ago
Reply to  M@tt
M@tt
7 years ago
Reply to  Reading helps

An understanding of sarcasm/satire also helps.

Joe
7 years ago

When Billy Beane wrote Moneyball, he explained why this is the way he needs to do business do be a consistent winner. I don’t believe in Moneyball. What have the A’s ever won? They’ve never been a great team but there are no great teams any more.

Izzy
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Very astute, Mr. Morgan.

MJ
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

First, Billy didn’t write moneyball. The book was written about him and the 2002 A’s team by Michael Lewis. Second, when you don’t have the financial resources of the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, etc. it is necessary to keep your team young and relatively cheap in order to stay relevant. Finally, you can’t build a team to win the World Series. You build a team to make the playoffs. You can’t assume your team will make the playoffs every year and make moves that will only help in the World Series. By this standard I would consider the A’s to be very successful during Beane’s tenure they just havnt gotten it done in the playoffs.

Kevin
7 years ago
Reply to  MJ

Yyyyyyyeah…… you missed the joke, there.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  MJ
Yirmiyahu
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

This has to be a joke. The “When Billy Beane wrote Moneyball” line gives it away. This is sarcasm, right?

Joe
7 years ago
Reply to  Yirmiyahu

1) Billy Beane wrote Moneyball
2) Consistent
3) What have the A’s ever won
4) There are no great teams any more

The only way to be more clear would be to embed a link in my name or mention Gary Sheffield.

Kev
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

My favorite chapter of Moneyball was when Beane explained how he built the computer that picks all his players.

Powder Blues
7 years ago

Because when you trade player A for a prospect, then go sign FA player B (who is identical to player A) for only money, you are left with Player B + Prospect. It’s a win.

I’m actually surprised this strategy isn’t utilized more often during the offseason, assuming decent FA options are available.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
7 years ago
Reply to  Powder Blues

Well, calling them player A and B, that makes sense, but how is Donaldson identical to Butler?

Donaldson fWAR last three seasons: 15.6 fWAR
Butler fWAR last three seasons: 4.1 fWAR

Donaldson, despite not playing a full season in 2012 AVERAGED nearly 3 WAR HIGHER than Butler in that three year span.

I agree that it’s a good strategy if executed properly, but in this example, it was not, they are not identical players.

M@tt
7 years ago

he was talking about Moss

Jacob Jackson
7 years ago
Reply to  Powder Blues

Please rec this everyone, Powder Blues explained in two sentences exactly the logic behind everything the A’s are doing.

It hurts the feelings of fans who get attached to players, but the logic of it – the math of it – is undeniable. If B is the free agent market, and the A’s have an A that is equal to B that they can actually afford to sign (Butler), they SHOULD trade A for C. Once they sign B in free agency, they are left with both B and C, instead of merely the A they had before.

More teams should be churning their rosters annually. It allows the A’s to perpetually participate in free agency, despite having a low payroll. Low-budget teams that keep their arb guys through free agency are less able to do this.

Someone mentioned the Twins above. What if they had traded Mauer for youth and depth instead of a long extension? It would’ve been wildly unpopular, and yet the Twins probably would’ve won more the past three years, too. They’d have the prospects contributing, and the $20M in Mauer money to put into free agency each year.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Jackson

Twins avg 2014 attendance: 27,785
A’s avg 2014 attendance: 25,045

Bryz
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Jackson

Jesus, you don’t know when to stop.

Target Field is brand new and the high attendance has been in reference to its newness. Attendance has dropped sharply over the past 5 years. It was ~39,500 in 2010 when the stadium opened. It’s down to ~28,000 as you’ve found. Losing 11,500 per game over 5 years is pretty terrible.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Jackson

And so they fired the GM and the manager and are trying something else.

The A’s attendance has been rising steadily the last five years, and rather than caring about that they are blowing it up instead of building some brand loyalty with players like Donaldson.

By simply saying that there’s one way to do this and, “gee aren’t the Twins stupid!” Maybe we can look at this Beane being a “high stakes gambler” thing a little more.

The A’s aren’t a small market team, yet they pretend they are and then actually sacrifice franchise financial stability for short term wins and then refuse to cash that in on either political value for a new stadium or fan loyalty and marketability by having new, unknown players every year.

Everytime they have a draw like Balfour was, the sell them/let them walk because they are at or past their “peak value”

So in the end, by this strategy the A’s are always competitive for longer, but still financially “strapped”

It’s an odd way to run a railroad is all I’m saying.

Sabean Wannabe
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Jackson

Economics dictates that the price will adjust to these tactics. If Player A and Player B have the same value and they cost he same money BUT Player A also costs me a pick/player in a trade, then the price of Player B will rise to balance this out.

Of course in baseball, not everything is free/open. A team may have to trade for a player because they are not a popular landing spot for free agents.

Jacob Jackson
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Jackson

You call it an “odd way to run a railroad”…but I would call it a strategy that has helped the A’s, with a low budget, avoid ever being terrible. They’ve won at least 74 games every year for 17 straight seasons.

It would not be a smart strategy if 5-10 other teams were doing it. If that were happening, it would lessen the value of what Beane was offering via trade. But it is certainly a viable strategy, and the evidence of that is the sustained run of competitiveness the A’s have had (perpetually avoiding 90-loss seasons).

The main point of my post above is that no one who reads Fangraphs regularly should be even remotely confused about what the A’s are doing, and that Powder Blues’ post spells it out perfectly.

It’s certainly reasonable to disagree with the A’s strategy, or to not like the returns the A’s get on their trades, but the comment I keep reading that surprises me is “what are they doing?” Powder Blues summed it up in two sentences.

edgardiazrocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Jackson

I’m not saying it’s a bad way to win baseball games, I’m saying it’s an odd way to run a business and make money and grow brand loyalty.

It seems as if pleasing the fans [customers] is WAY down on the list of concerns.

Maybe it will work maybe it wont?

People always say that winning is the most important thing for revenue generation. The A’s seem to be the opposite of that. Winning hasn’t really changed their bottom line.

Ben Lindberg and Sam Miller talked about this here.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25159

rustydudemember
7 years ago

I agree. These “explanations of Billy Beane” are getting extremely tiresome. After this umpteenth attempt one begins to wonder if Fangraphs isn’t on the A’s payroll. Oh wait, the A’s are cheap and can’t afford any extra payroll expense. So again, you have to wonder what’s going on around here.

Nova HK
7 years ago

Butler is cheaper than Moss in 2015.

The Billy Beane Apologists Club
7 years ago

All along, the plan was to circle the wagons around the dynamically valuable Billy Butler, and it was executed beautifully.

Forrest Gumption
7 years ago

Moss is older and coming off hip surgery. Butler pretty much never gets hurt. That alone replaces a risky player like Moss with a sure thing like Butler. A’s can’t afford to make mistakes like they did with Johnson and Nakajima, who they paid $16M for no reason at all.

Moss was due $7M in 2015 and probably more than that in 2016, so, say, at the minimum he additionally shaved $15M off long term payroll. Could he have thrown in money and gotten a better prospect? Sure. But this is not terrible at all.