Friday, July 01, 2005

Speaking of the A's

I don't normally read him very often, but Blez at Athletics Nation has developed the ability to interview Oakland personnel, which can be worth suffering through Blez to read. This week, he is blogging his recent interview with analysts' lightning rod Billy Beane, who has several interesting things to say.

I caught myself wondering if Bill Bavasi could say something like the following:

Blez: You were talking about starting to build now and be more competitve. We're getting near the time of year when GMs make the decision about whether they are going to be buyers or sellers at the trading deadline. Is that something you've already made a decision about? Or are you going to wait to see how things play out over the next several weeks?

Beane: That's always an easy question to answer. We are always both. There's never been a year that we aren't both. The goal here is not to have a cute little team that's competitive. The goal here is to have a team where year after year we are competing for a playoff spot. That's always the way I think. We want to be good for a long time. We're always going to be both.

Part of the reason we're both and not just buyers is in part because of the market situation we're in. But it's also healthy (to be both a buyer and seller). I don't see a change in that. We've always been involved in the deadline one way or the other. We will continue to be. But our goal is to be good here, year after year after year. So when you look on the field, you see Crosby and say, he's going to be here five years, player X is going to be here five years. We don't shoot for .500 here. We never have. We're not going to do that. Our goal is something we will attain and we're going to do it as quickly as we can. It's not this five-year rebuilding plan.

I look at the moves that the Mariners have made since Bavasi got here, and I have to there a sense in the Mariners' front office of where the team is now, what it will take to get to success from here, and how to achieve that? For all the criticism that Beane receives (mostly, but not all, from non-Moneyball readers who dislike the tone of "stathead" partisans), you have to admit that the Oakland organization is run better than ours for less cash (exactly Tad's point).

In any case, if you want to read the rest of Beane's responses (including a fine Python reference), have at you.


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