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  1. And to think, the A’s would be so much better off if Billy Beane spent more time running the team instead of writing that book and movie script…

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — March 22, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  2. When was the AL West an easy division to win?

    Comment by Dan — March 22, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  3. Do you mean injury-prone exclusively when you refer to baggage? Could you see the A’s pursuing someone like Elijah Dukes? Interestingly, that would kind of run contrary to one of the major points of Moneyball(head case issues getting in the way of pure talent).

    Comment by johnf — March 22, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  4. You could argue the AL the west is easier to win then every other division in MLB simply based on the number of teams. You only have to beat out 3 other teams, insteand of 4.

    Comment by bobo — March 22, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  5. The A’s don’t need to rely on risky investments turning into gold to compete.

    They would have been competitive the last few years if the money they spent supplementing their pre-FA talent had resulted in a league average return on investment. Instead, they’ve received virtually no value the last three years from the money they’ve poured into Chavez, Giambi, Piazza, Cabrera, Springer, Loaiza, Bradley, and Kendall. They’ve either been injured, awful, or both. In 2007, for example, their 6 highest paid players (comprising nearly 2/3 of their payroll) combined to provide replacement level performance.

    They don’t need a winning lottery ticket to compete; they just need to spend their limited ML budget non-terribly.

    Comment by Dan — March 22, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  6. They kicked Milton Bradley’s tires, so it’s not out of the question. Or maybe it is, depending on your view of the outcome of the Bradley experiment.

    Comment by scatterbrian — March 22, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  7. It was much easier to win when Bavasi was running Seattle and Texas had a joke of a run-prevention unit each year.

    Comment by Yo izzle — March 22, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  8. LOL i hope you are being sarcastic here, more than likely you are

    Comment by MLBfan2010 — March 22, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  9. Or have a little better luck… Most of those guys were clearly in declined but seriously crashed and burned when they joined the A’s.

    Comment by Aaron/YYZ — March 22, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  10. “The A’s don’t need to rely on risky investments turning into gold to compete.”

    “They don’t need a winning lottery ticket to compete; they just need to spend their limited ML budget non-terribly.”

    Where are you going to find cheap, non-risky, high expected outcomes investments?

    Comment by q — March 22, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

  11. Billy Beane is the oat bran of GMs.

    Comment by gary — March 22, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  12. True, but the only reason why this is even in play is that they significantly outperformed most teams in getting value out of their farm system. It’s somewhat obvious that the A’s cannot compete with an average farm and their current payroll.

    So unless the team can come up with a way to consistently remain way above-average in producing farm talent, they’re stuck with the high-risk approach. In 2008 and 2009, their payroll could not have reasonably been expected to produce a playoff team; even adding an extra 10 free agent wins to what they produced in 2008 and 2009 wouldn’t have put them anywhere near the postseason.

    Comment by Paul Thomas — March 22, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

  13. Is there anything to be said about adopting the rays/marlins and more recently (the pirates) small market rebuilding-strategy?

    Investing more heavily into the amateur draft (the red sox have acquired a top farm system while having terrible draft positions) and taking more risks on international talent; all the while losing 90+ games a season and reaping the rewards of a top 5 draft selections?

    Or is investing in aging/injury prone/declining players the only way the A’s can compete?

    Comment by cavegravedave — March 22, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

  14. The A’s are going to be better than many think this year.

    And many of their prospects somehow lose their luster upon arrival in Oakland (Adrian Cardenas isn’t top 100 on most lists anymore, for example).

    There’s a fair amount of potential stars.
    I like Anderson, Cahill, Mazz, Gio, Outman with many others on the way (Ynoa).
    C – Suzuki is good enough for now. Stassi and Donaldson coming.
    1b – I like Daric Barton. Carter is a great plan B.
    2b – Cardenas, Sogard, Weeks after Ellis
    SS – Pennington+Rosales before Grant Green or the guy they got from Minne for Cabrera
    3b – Kouz, until one of the 2b’s proves better
    RF – Taylor, Buck after Crisp
    CF – Sweeney, Rajai
    LF – Carter, Buck
    DH – Cust, Carter, etc

    Starting next year, this team will be really good.

    Comment by Free Bowker — March 22, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  15. Those only look like a grouping of future stars if you only look at their 99th-percentile projection. Cardenas/Weeks project as roughly average. Barton is almost out of chances to show he’s even serviceable, and it’s a little tough to keep dreamin gon star-level upside. Like Bryan said, Carter needs to be a 900+ OPS guy to even be an above-average player. To be any kind of star he’ll need to hit at .950-1.000 regularly. Those are long odds, even for a great minor league bat. Pennington’s the definition of average with little to no upside. Taylor’s a solid above-average guy, but it’s tough to call him a future star with his poor defensive reports, and Sweeney, and Davis top out at slightly above average, and only for their gloves.

    That’s not really, really good. That’s serviceable.

    Comment by JH — March 22, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  16. It’s above league average, and if you have a above league average rotation and bullpen you have a playoff team

    Comment by eldingo — March 22, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  17. Dave mentions that they need a few breaks to win the division…might I ask, since each team in the AL West are really close to each other on paper, don’t they ALL need a few breaks this season, and likely in the future since the As seem to find a way to be around .500 or a few games over. The Rangers have one of the richest, if not the richest, farm in baseball and a decent budget. The Angels have a large budget, but still that shitty “Angels Baseball” philosophy and lost three mainstays of the team over the past five years in Lackey, Vlad, and Figgins. The Mariners, well I’m sure half the readers here are Ms fans (not that that’s a bad thing) and I don’t need to go on about them…but their offense is one of the weaker ones in baseball, and after Cliff Lee their rotation has questions marks. So I would argue that each of the ALW teams need some things to break their way this year, and for the next few years. Other than that, I enjoyed the article.

    Comment by Omar — March 23, 2010 @ 4:14 am

  18. 1994

    Comment by archilochusColubris — March 23, 2010 @ 8:43 am

  19. bobo: So under that logic, without knowing any additional information about the franchises, you are saying that the NL Central is the hardest division to win because you have to beat out 5 teams instead of 4?

    Seems like the screenname is apropos.

    Comment by Joel C. — March 23, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  20. Really Joel C? you don’t get this? Assume you don’t know anything about any of the teams and give them all the exact same win probability, such that each team has an equal winning percentage. Then run a monte carlo simulation with a division of 4 teams,playing whatever schedule you devise. You will probably find that each team wins the division at around 25% of the time. Next do the same with a division of 6 equal teams. You’ll hopefully find that each team wins the division 16.666% of the time. So, yes, all other things being equal, if you were a GM you would want to be in a 4 team division because it is easier to win than a 5 team or a 6 team division. Make fun of my screen name all you want, but please think through this example, it is relatively simple.

    Comment by bobo — March 23, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  21. Being that Sweeney was a 4-win player last year (mostly on the strength of his defense) its not out of the question he’ll break out.

    I have faith in Barton to be well above average.
    And that Pennington will be above average as well.

    In fact, I fail to see where the A’s are starting any scrubs.

    This will be a good team this year, great the next.

    Comment by bSpittle — April 5, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  22. you do realize he didn’t write the book, right?

    Comment by berryisu — March 22, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  23. Audio began playing when I opened this blog, so irritating!

    Comment by plastische Chirurgie — October 24, 2011 @ 6:46 am

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