And despite this glowing piece on ESPN (via @MoneyballMovie) the Oakland A's general manager has lost one of his biggest fans, ESPN's Rob Neyer, who had some not-so-nice things to say in the aftermath of the Matt Holliday trade.
"If the A's made a trade like this two years ago, I would have organized a parade to celebrate Billy Beane's great wisdom.Today? I just can't do it. Instead of seeing three prospects obtained for a song, I wonder why the A's would want a "pear-shaped" third baseman who doesn't have much power and is widely thought to be a future first baseman, and I think about what a disaster Oakland's last first-baseman-of-the-future (Daric Barton) has been. Instead of applauding Beane for adding to the organization's pitching depth, I wonder what the A's -- who already have eight starting pitchers 25 or younger -- could possibly do with another young starter. And I wonder how Peterson's going to succeed where Ryan Sweeney and Travis Buck and Aaron Cunningham haven't."
This is me admitting something I don't want to admit. The original Moneyball concept is dead. The secret is out. OBP. OPS. Bill James' wisdom. All of it. Dead.
It's like befriending that one average looking young lady friend when she was "just alright" and your friends would have laughed at you had you actually dated her. Then she got hot overnight, and yeah, you two fooled around. Heck, you were the talk of the town. Then she left you and has been gettin' her freak on all around town. Now she's used goods and you're old news.
However, there is still hope for the underlying theme of the concept. Hoarding (and developing) young talent.
Oakland can't compete with the big boys because they cannot afford the price to keep the Hollidays of the world long enough. So they stockpile prospects instead. And if enough prospects flourish, then you have a winning cycle. It's a shame that Beane's genius is being wasted for an ownership group that wouldn't spend a penny to make a dollar.
Oftentimes, I've called for Beane to be the next Cubs GM once a real owner heads into town. Not based on my man crush on Beane, my love of the Michael Lewis best-seller or the movie that is coming out that will star Brad Pitt as the Outback Steakhouse waitress slaying, smooth-talking smoother criminal.
I've wanted Beane to come to Chicago and develop a farm system so the Cubs can be a real team.
Since 1998, when Beane became Oakland's GM, the A's have developed more home grown talent than the Cubs have. Then, the home grown talent gets turned into someone else's overlooked young talent.
Imagine had the following pitching staff been able to stay healthy and in tact: Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito.
Or if Oakland had the loot to keep Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Nick Swisher around.
If Oakland's owners had Bill Gates money, the West Coast baseball scene would be poppin' like Tupac's California Love video. Instead, the Oakland baseball soundtrack plays like an old blues record.