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Oakland - Did Billy Beane Go Too Far?


Frobby

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I think Beane is a helluva GM. I'm impressed by what he has done this year. I wouldn't be upset if we did the same sort of thing.

However, I don't think it is completely illogical to wonder what could happen to his current team's morale long term (read beyond this season) if they continue to get absolutely slaughtered the rest of the year. If they close the season losing 50 of their last 65 games, the current players won't be happy at all. Nobody likes to get embarrassed. That sort of thing is embarrassing. When things get that bad, people can start pointing fingers, blaming people, saying things they can't take back, etc.... If that stuff happens, it won't take long for it to be directed at Billy Beane since he did the demolition. There could be a hangover effect. Or maybe not. Only time will tell, but it isn't a crazy thing to consider.

Is Frank Thomas still on that team? I can see him getting pi$$y about this stuff. It will probably depend on the closeness of the clubhouse and types of players they've got in that clubhouse. It will be interesting to watch for sure.

Would you really consider trading Harden a demolition? Yeah, they traded Blanton, but he wasn't good anyway, and the guy that they got in return has been pitching at least as well.

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It may look right now like Beane hit the abandon ship button and reloaded, but to him, what if they did win the world series? What position would they be in next season, or two seasons from now? He is always looking forward, and he saw a case of someone willing to possibly overpay for some guys he was going to move at some point anyway and jumped at it.

The A's will be contenders for a while now yet again based almost solely on the Haren trade. Gonzalez showed some flashes and will be a good CF soon, Eveland and Smith both look to be solid starters, and they got 2 or 3 other pieces just in that one trade. I'm amazed he didn't find a way to do it sooner and get Quentin in that deal too.

Billy lives and dies on his statistical analysis and getting guys that perform, not just "look pretty in a uniform" as the books says, and he will turn up at least a couple all stars in this pile of players he acquired this season, mark my words.

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Point taken, but a different animal altogether.

Those three years they averaged more than 95 wins. He went for it. If they had fallen out of it he would have dealt then too.

I gotcha. I'm just trying to point out that you can have a hybrid of approaches to make an organization work. You don't have to let trade all of your players before they hit free agency and you don't have to hold onto everyone until they become free agents.

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Well, I think you have to add Haren to the equation. Any time you trade 3/5ths of the starting rotation in less than a year, you've done some pretty major changes. I personally think Oakland was playing way over their head earlier and way below their capability now, but it won't be reported that way I'm sure. Of course, you have to wonder WHY they were playing that way and wonder if morale and confidence have anything to do with an overperforming squad suddenly becoming an underperforming squad.

Like I wrote previously, I don't think what Beane did was wrong, but I do think it could go wrong if that makes sense. Perception often becomes reality. It will be interesting to see what happens if this current awful pace continues.

I don't think Haren should be considered part of a demolition considering the debate is whether or not Beane made a mistake by being a seller when they were in playoff contention. It's the July decision that is being questioned by many. And they were not a contender last year, as they only won 76 games, and weren't expected to be a contender this year, so the Haren trade can't be lumped in with the giving up on a contender argument. So one can not demolish something that doesn't yet exist.

But anyway, I agree with most of what you write.

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You can roll your eyes all you want but it's a fact that even the very best teams, those that win 110+ games, are no better than 1-in-3, maybe 2-in-5 chances to win the World Series once they've made the playoffs. Any two run-of-the-mill 94-win playoff teams playing each other in a short series is a coin flip. With eight teams that means an average playoff team has a 12.5% chance of winning it all. 87.5% of the time a PLAYOFF TEAM will NOT win the World Series.

Every freakin' team needs a lot of luck to win the World Series. Even the very best.

If you're going to crucify Beane for not winning the Series whenever he makes the playoffs you need to round up the GMs of the Yankees, the Twins, the Dodgers, the Giants, the Indians, the Braves, and a bunch of other teams and sacrifice them on the same I-don't-give-a-crap-about-real-life-odds altar.

I don't believe the whole coin flip BS. It's an excuse for losing. The better teams win. Maybe you can make a case in the first round as it's only 5 games which I believe is too short, but after that it's nonsense.

Of course you're not going to win every time you enter the playoffs. There are 8 teams and only 1 can be a winner. That means 7 losers.

Why the hell would I crucify the Yankees? They've won 4 world series in the last 15 years.

It's not about Beane not winning it's about the way he doesn't win. He tries to make a good team and hope they get lucky and go all the way instead of going for it all and trying for a great team. It's the same reason the National League as a whole stinks. They have the same attitude. At least until this season.

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I don't believe the whole coin flip BS. It's an excuse for losing. The better teams win. Maybe you can make a case in the first round as it's only 5 games which I believe is too short, but after that it's nonsense.

Nonsense? I'm not sure how I can explain this any more clearly. The randomness of a baseball season is often not washed out by 162 games. Whether a playoff series is five or seven or more games is largely irrelevant. The best team doesn't win most of the time. The best teams only win a few percentage points more often than any other playoff team.

Playoffs can't be about determining the best team. The best they can be is a money-generating tournament that determines who is the best team for three weeks in October.

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I don't believe the whole coin flip BS. It's an excuse for losing. The better teams win. Maybe you can make a case in the first round as it's only 5 games which I believe is too short, but after that it's nonsense.

So the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, who at 83 wins had (at least close to) the fewest wins of any full-season division winner in history, were the best team in baseball that year? Better then the Padres, who finished with five more wins in a division where no team had fewer than 76? Better then the Mets, who won 97 games? Better then the Tigers, who won 95 games AND went through both a 97-win Yankees team and a 93-win Athletics team?

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It's all about getting hot at the right time. Look at COL last year who went on such a tear at the end of the season to get into the playoffs and then were well suited in the playoffs.

Baseball is all about being a good enough team to not get weeded out of the race over 162 games, and then out of those 8 teams still standing playing your best, with a little luck mixed in. One starter has a bad night on the other team, and home field advantage is washed out. One closer has a bad couple games (as they all do every season) and all of a sudden your team is eliminated.

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Lots of times I'm left scratching my head at the moves Beane has made.

He trades Mulder and gets an unproven guy in Haren...scratch my head.

He trades Haren and gets more unproven guys....scratch my head.

Yet, inevitably, Oakland will manage to challenge for a playoff spot every few years or so and will eventually win one.

This is why he is a GM and I post on a message board.

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