Billy Beane Extended Through 2019
“General Manager Billy Beane and President Michael Crowley will remain with the Oakland Athletics through the 2019 season, club owner Lew Wolff said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.”…
…’I view them as partners as well as executives,’ Wolff said. ‘So if they are here another 30 years, that is fine with me. I may not be here to see it, but that will be fine.'”
Beane has been general manager of the Oakland A’s since the conclusion of the 1997 season when he took the reins from Sandy Alderson. Since then the A’s have a 1,206 – 1,060 record. Since taking the helm only six teams in MLB have a better record, the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Angels and Giants with all of those teams having far greater revenue streams. To his critics, that success was less because of him and more because of some Alderson draft picks and international free-agent signings like Jason Giambi (1992), Miguel Tejada (1993), Eric Chavez (1996) and Tim Hudson (1997) . While Beane has drafted very well by most metrics including success stories like Mark Mulder (1998), Barry Zito (1999), Nick Swisher (2002) and more recently Jemile Weeks (2008), the A’s problems over the last few seasons at drafting quality offensive players has left a big league club with top tier pitching and miserable hitting. There is also some fair criticism over the minimal returns that some significant trades have provided the club, including both ends of the trade to both acquire and rid of Matt Holliday, the return for Joe Blanton and Rich Harden are also fairly criticized. By and large though, in the end I think his poor trades have been outweighed by some of his better ones, including the acquisition of Mark Ellis as a virtual throw-in, the trade that landed the A’s Gio Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney and Fautino De Los Santos, and the recent trades that sent Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez to Arizona and Washington respectively. It is often in minor trades though where Beane truly shows his magic, like this year turning a middling middle reliever like David Purcey into Scott Sizemore who filled the black hole that had been third base for the A’s the past few years.
I am excited that Beane is sticking around through 2019. I hope that during that time the A’s are able to get the new stadium they need and build payroll around that. It will be interesting to see how Beane will operate if he does not need to be so concerned with the purse strings. Before most front-offices did, Beane embraced sabermetrics and now with the rest of MLB caught up no longer can play that information asymmetry to his advantage. In fact, there is a much more homogeneous view regarding what constitutes good talent that makes it difficult for teams with smaller wallets to compete with teams able to throw money around with fewer limitations. One can argue that this decision by Lew Wolff could very well be the best A’s transaction of the offseason.