Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When You're Good, You're Good

“It's like having calculus first period. You are not real happy when the alarm goes off, but by second period it's already over and you are running off to wood shop.”

-Billy Beane. What the hell does that mean?! My God, he's a genious. He's gotta be one to say something like that.

Have you read Moneyball? My God, Billy Beane is nuts. If the book paints an accurate picture of him, then he's off the deep end. But man, he's good. He's the only one who does 'it'. He's the only one out there who has a combination of guts/smarts/ability/willingness to act/a mandate from management to actually react quickly to the reality of his team. That reality being that the current team he has is not going to win. Not now. Not for a while.

And what would ANY other GM in the league do, you ask? Try to win now regardless of said teams talent. Big market or small market, they would try in their own way. They would make a stopgap trade or sign whoever happens to be in the free agent crop that particular offseason, and claim that no matter who the player is, he is 'the answer'...And then that player would stink. For a while. Unfortunately, just because a guy is the best guy out there and you pay him a ton of money, that doesn't make him good. I swear, most of these GM's must be saying to their assistants, right before they make a deal these days, "Well hell, if we pay him this much he HAS to be good, right?!" It could be Gil Meche, or Barry Zito, or Carlos Silva, or Kyle Lohse...You get the picture. A decent to good starter paid like an ace isn't going to live up to it. It's not his fault he sucks, he's a #3 or 4 or 5 starter, not an Ace by any means. But all the chedda' from wherever chedda' comes from can't change the player from what slot they should actually be pitching from.

Case in point, the New York Mets (of which I am a fan) of 2002, 2003, and 2004. After 2001, on the highway of life, we had a flat tire. Instead of rebuilding the whole car (which we should have done) we decided to call AAA. Unfortunately, when the tow truck arrived it was driven by Roger Cedeno, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, Jeff D'Amico, Shawn Estes, and a TRUCKLOAD (pun intended) of over-the-hill, past-their-prime, has-beens, and never-will-be's.

Now, don't get me wrong, B-Square (my new pet name for Mr. Beane) isn't bulletproof. His moves aren't all home runs (pun intended). He traded Tim Hudson, and has nothing to show for it yet (Juan Cruz = Nothing, Charles Thomas = Nothing, Dan Meyer = Nothing yet) and that was back in 2004. However, two days after the Hudson trade, Beane moved Mark Mulder - who has never been the same - for Dan Haren (who he just turned into 5 players), Kiko Calero (a very good middle reliver who is still on the team), and Daric Barton (who is about to be their starting 1B, and mashed during his audition at the end of last year).

Ohh, he drafts great too. He's the Isiah Thomas of MLB. Ok, I take that back, bad example. For those of you who don't know, I'm also a Knicks fan and although I blame Zeke for everything short of Chinese food making me gassy, the one thing I can't take away from him is he actually does draft well, before he destroys the lives of his draftees a few short months later...Theee 2-0 to O'Neil, low, ball 3...Anyway, the point is Beane drafts well. Teahen, Blanton, Swisher, Ethier, Street, Buck (if you don't know him, you will soon). Thats a lot of good players since 2002, mama mia, that's-a-spicy-meat-a-ball!!

What's the point of all this Billy Beane inspired peace and love you ask? I don't know, after he pulled that Swisher deal a week or two ago, something just struck a nerve inside me. It's fun watching the man work, thats all. This is a blog, I don't need a real reason.


Doc Holliday said...

Don't forget:

1 - Eric Byrnes, 1998
2 - Jeremy Bonderman, 2001
3 - Andre Either, 2003

The man is good...

AK-47 said...

Either was in there, but the other 2 guys are studs too.

Beane is king, but I'm just sayin... said...

I agree with you in a way that the guy is a genius, but in the 10+ years he's been there, he's made it to the AL Championship series once, and the A's got swept. I agree with the idea of dealing proven or solid guys for prospects, but the point is to win, and at some point he has to start focusing on that.

Doc Holliday said...

I think the main point here is Beane keeps his team competetive for long periods at a time. Plus he knows the value of player. Look at Zito and Mulder. Their absense hardly caused a ripple, and neither pitcher has gone on to burn Beane. At the time, people thought he was nuts - which he might be anyway...but he made good moves regardless.