Billy Beane’s Lightning in a Bottle Theory
As you look up and down at the Oakland A’s lineup year after year it really has a resemblance to the movie Major League. “Who are these fu***** guys?” Every year Billy Beane gets players off of the scrap heap from other teams. He deals his proven stars for unproven prospects. He signs players coming off down years to cheap contracts. Beane is a mastermind. We have seen it in the movie Moneyball, and we see it year after year. The A’s always seem to be in the running for the division or the wild card.
Beane has always been an against the grain kind of guy. You have seen multiple teams steal his Moneyball on-base percentage idea. Billy had to evolve again. Dealing proven stars that have a couple of years left on their contract for highly touted prospects. Finding players that fit his mold that he can sign to cheap deals. Signing players from other countries to below market prices. Last year Beane thought they had a chance to win it all. He went out and paid a fortune for two aces to come in and try to be the last piece of the puzzle. Then the hitting went dry. Lester had one bad inning and *poof* the season was gone.
Again this past off-season Billy had to change things up. He had rolled out a very similar lineup three years in a row and couldn’t get it done. Whole sale changes came. Lester, Samardzija, Moss, Donaldson, and Norris are gone. In are Lawrie, Graveman, Zobrist, Semien, and Butler. Younger cheaper talent. This is the way that the A’s have to do things. Always have to be a step ahead of every other team. The A’s are off to a sluggish start this year. This is to be expected with the whirlwind of moves that he made. I have a feeling that the A’s are going to compete this year once all the pieces are in place. You have one of the best hitting catchers in Steven Vogt (who they received for a player to be named later.) Josh Reddick is a 5 tool player that is just starting to hit his groove (received from the Red Sox for Andrew Bailey.) Jesse Chavez is a reliable back end starter (received from the Jays for cash.) Drew Pomeranz is a middle of the rotation former top prospect (received from the Rockies for Brett Anderson.) They are close to getting back Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin. All of these players come in and thrived in the A’s system.
It’s really difficult to describe Beane’s style. I would relate it to a bargain shopper or a stock market player. Buy low and sell high seems to be easiest way to describe Beane’s way of doing things. Generally with teams that don’t have all that much in revenue that they will have a decade of down years while they retool with young cheap talent. The A’s compete year in and year out with a misfit crew. Every year Billy attempts to find that lightning in a bottle that will get him that elusive World Series ring. Tinkering, overhauling, and recycling the roster. One of these years it’s going to be Billy’s year. They have some of the pieces in place. Gray is an ace. They have always had a fantastic pitching staff, but never a pitcher that could go up against David Price or Felix Hernandez. Now they have that. It looks like they have a future all-star in Semien. Lawrie at 3B hasn’t even come close to hitting his peak. It hasn’t come together yet, but I don’t think it’s far off.
The A’s might not make the playoffs this year. They might be a year or two away. The prospect cupboard is full once again after all the dealings in the off-season. It’s just another year for Billy Beane trying to find that right formula that will get him to legendary status.