Friday, November 11, 2005

Couple o thoughts on the A's

Of course it doesn't get much mainstream play, but to me the strength of Billy Beane is in his adherence to the old Branch Rickey adage, "Its better to trade a player too early than too late."

He recognizes that with a strong farm system you can let high proced free agents go and still be successful. Witness the departures of Giambi, Damon, Tejeda followed by playoff seasons. This year he traded his two best pitchers and was still competitive.

You would think that the Mariners would have learned this after 2001, when they won 116 games after losing Randy, Junior and Pay-Rod in successive years, but instead they got attached to those players and that has lead us directly to back-to-back 90 loss seasons.

On the other hand a lot of the "keep your good players at any cost" moves are driven by your fanbase. The fans want to see successful teams stay together. It is interesting that all the A's success on the field has never translated into attendance. The A's drew 2.1 million fans this year for an 88 and 74 club that was in the playoff hunt most of the year. The M's drew 2.7 million for a club that was out of it in May. Some of that may be stadium driven, but I think some of it is that the most popular players in Oakland are constantly shipped out.

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