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Why don't the A's win any more?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    With "Moneyball" trailers out now, it's not a bad time to take a look at what Billy Beane's franchise has done the last few seasons. The A's haven't won 90-plus games since 2006. They were .500 last year, their best finish since then. They are 10 games under .500 as we speak.

    Obviously, they don't have a high payroll, but it's also not the worst in baseball, and teams with lower payrolls are outperforming them.

    Couple thoughts, and I want to hear what other seamheads think:

    (1) The Mulder-Zito-Hudson factor was severely underplayed in "Moneyball."
    (2) Beane can't draft. While "Moneyball" was supposed to coronate him, the chapter on the draft, in hindsight, actually exposes him.
    (3) Baseball has caught up to modern statistical analysis and today you build a successful franchise with your minor-league system, not via undervalued free agents, because they no longer exist.
  2. JonnyD

    JonnyD Member

    I'll take a little of one and a whole lot of 3.
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    They don't hit. They're almost always in the bottom half of OPS and more often than not in the bottom 10.
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    He's treated the A's like a sabermetric science experiment seemingly ever since the Moneyball book came out with predictable results.

    Every player in baseball (and any other sport) is a pawn to a certain extent, but no executive has so proudly worn it on his shoulder as Beane has.

    Can you imagine playing for him? You know you're just part of some grand scheme that involves squaring a saber-circle only he cares about and you will be dealt accordingly.

    And we all know his wonderful rep with his managers. Or more accurately, his rep to not have managers who can think for themselves.

    He seems to have a Napoleon complex out of all proportion to any actual accomplishment. He seems to ride on reputation out of all proportion to any actual accomplishment.

    I'm surprised the A's have kept him as long as they have. They've been irrelevant (and one of the most boring franchises in any sport) for the last five or six seasons.
  5. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    I don't know about the free agency thing. I agree you build through the draft, but I think even the small market teams need to find usable parts through free agency.

    For example, Miguel Cairo and Orlando Cabrera played solid roles in the Reds run to the NL Central division crown last year. They weren't MVPs, but they produced when called upon.

    You're not going to build an entire team through your farm system. A good GM has to make trades and identify the right free agents to complete the team.
  6. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    The A's currently have a .302 OBP. Only Washington, Seattle and Minnesota are worse.

    In the Moneyball years (2000-2002), it was .360, .345, .339.
  7. JonnyD

    JonnyD Member

    Tejada was completely terrible.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Oh, Dick ... I think we have been down this road before. Be nice. :)

    First off, the atmosphere in Oakland is absolutely horrible -- it is truly the "Major League" scenario where the owner is trying to starve the franchise to get approval to move. He does not want to win because that brings the chance that people would come to the ballpark and make Oakland look like a viable market, and that is the last thing this ownership needs.

    Beyond that, the whole flaw in the Moneyball theory can be summed up in two words: Carlos Gonzalez. Billy traded him (and Huston Street, but I can understand that part because closers are overvalued) for a half-season of Matt Holliday. The one year the A's had him, he was obviously a player, and they were going to have him for three years at the cost certainty that comes with a non-arbitration player. Yet Billy shipped him off because he walked too little, ran too much, and had the defensive tools that Billy just doesn't care about.

    It's fine to find Scott Hatteberg on the scrap heap and pay him less because the market undervalues his abilities. That's smart on a limited payroll. It's another story to take every player in your entire system and turn him into the same non-aggressive hitter who waits for the umpire's help, despite what that player's abilities might be. I remember last year the A's took seven called third strikes against Cliff Lee. They spent the whole postgame bitching about the umpire, but at no time did it occur to any of them to swing the damn bat.
  9. CarltonBanks

    CarltonBanks New Member

    I think it is Beane's drafting ability (or inability). Sure, Moneyball is an interesting read but you cannot win consistently or build a franchise using the Moneyball method.

    This is an interesting look back at that draft:

    The A's minor league system is not that good...in fact they do not have that much help coming. I always thought that unless you are the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets the only way to win is what John Hart did with the Cleveland Indians in the early 1990's and what the Devil Rays are doing now...spend a ton of money on your system and scouting and be patient. Then, when you are on the cusp you add your free agents (like Cleveland did with Dennis Martinez, Orel Hershiser and Eddie Murray).
  10. CA_journo

    CA_journo Member

    1 and 3, along with a really crappy stadium that free agents don't really want to play in.

    Plus teams with money (namely Boston) have caught on to sabermetrics. Instead of having to dumpster dive, they can attract and keep the real talent.
  11. printdust

    printdust New Member

    The karma of Charlie Finley has long since vanished. Even after he sold the team, it took a while for it to leave, but now...
  12. dirtybird

    dirtybird Active Member

    Well they have bad hitters. Beane hit a rough stretch of trades. Team got really bad, and they started picking up "Name Guys" like Ben Sheets and Holliday to have a short-term face for the franchise. From the last time I was out there, going to a game was just depressing.

    They also drained the farm system with all the trades when they contended. The rebuilding has not yielded much in terms of position players.
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