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Moneyball for the long haul: A’s to extend GM Billy Beane’s contract through 2019

Feb 7, 2012, 4:20 PM EDT

Billy Beane AP

The timetable for the A’s rebuilding plan keeps getting pushed back further and further as the team tries to time a return to contention with the possible opening of a new ballpark, but however long it takes general manager Billy Beane will be around to see it through.

A’s owner Lewis Wolff said today during an interview on Bloomberg Television that Beane has agreed to a contract extension that will run through 2019 and the deal will become official soon.

Beane has long been considered one of baseball’s best GMs and he’s certainly the most famous now that Brad Pitt has portrayed him on the big screen, but the A’s haven’t had a winning season since 2006 and don’t appear close to turning things around after once again trading young major leaguers for prospects this offseason.

Revenue and payroll limitations play a huge role in the moves Beane has made, but the A’s also haven’t drafted particularly well of late and have traded away several young players who went on to make significant impacts elsewhere. In recent years Beane has also acquired quite a few mediocre veterans in head-scratching deals, leading to even his longtime supporters in the sabermetric community questioning his decision-making.

In addition to Beane’s extension, team president Michael Crowley also agreed to a deal that runs through 2019. Crowley, like Beane, has an ownership stake in the A’s.

  1. phillyphever - Feb 7, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    My condolences A’s fans. Sorry you’re stuck with that loser for the rest of the decade.

    • lyon810 - Feb 7, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      Loser? The guy has managed to completely re-stock his team’s farm system, which heading into the off-season was easily in the bottom five, now has to be considered one of the best.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      Beane’s teams have had a poor run the last five years, with only one .500 team (though no 90 loss teams, at least). Before that, though, his As were the Rays of the last four years… only for 8 years, not 4. From 1999 to 2006, they won an AVERAGE of 94 games, all with miniscule payrolls.

      You can’t keep that kind of talent pipeline going forever; with a tiny payroll, you have to continue drafting near perfectly to have sustained success. But perhaps they’re ready to go on another run, since they now have a top ten farm system again, and some youth already on the roster.

      As fans should be pretty happy he was re-upped.

      • donhufnagel - Feb 8, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        Payroll is only tiny because the A’s are cheap and they want to pocket all their money instead of paying players, so they rebuild all the time instead of having a consistent team. The truth of the matter is that the owner wants to keep Beane around so he can pocket his money like he has done the last 10-15 years. With revenue sharing he is making probably more than the A’s payroll every year. There needs to be a salary cap and a salary floor in baseball so these cheap small market owners don’t pocket money every year. They always play the victim card of being in a small market to justify not spending money that goes into their pockets.

    • scott7791 - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      Never insult a cult leader.

  2. proudliberal85392 - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Makes sense. The A’s need his expertise if they hope to compete with the Angels, who are aka “New York Yankees West.”

  3. baseballplayer24 - Feb 7, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Great movie sox should have signed billy

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      They tried, he turned them down.

  4. APBA Guy - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    You are going to get a lot of mixed feelings about this extension in the East Bay, kind of similar to the way Arsenal fans are treating Arsene Wenger these days “‘You don’t know what you’re doing” Really?).

    We all understand the limits in Oakland.

    We also understand that TB has the same limits-even worse- and has overcome them to put a winner on the field-just like Oakland used to do.

    Oakland isn’t a winner anymore. This year’s team could surprise (it’s Spring Training fever. Everyone is optimistic.) They could also lose 100 games.

    Bottom line is: As long as the current Wolff/Fisher ownership group is in place (Angelos West), the GM really doesn’t matter that much. Might as well go with the track record.

  5. bbk1000 - Feb 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Good for you Billy but I’m a bit surprised you don’t want larger challenge.

    You may be great at what you do in your division but you are mediocre at best, quite easy.

    Against the rest of the league who actually try to win you’d be toast…

  6. scott7791 - Feb 7, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Regardless of how much he had to do with it, Billy Beane’s success in the early part of his career in the front office can’t be questioned. But that was a long time ago now, and where he seems to get credit for all the good back then, it is stunning how many passes fans are willing to give him with the bad now. (A’s need a new stadium, it’s small market, they’re rebuilding for the future, everyone’s stolen his formula, etc. etc..) Since the 2006 ALCS, not a single Billy Beane trade can be pointed to as a strong success, let alone an outright triumph. Every year, it’s “rebuilding for the future”, as the Andre Ethiers, Dan Harens, and Carlos Gonzalezes of the world get moved around, as if the A’s are a fantasy league team. Meanwhile, Beane fans laud his “stockpiling” of prospects, rarely acknowledging that whenever those prospects DO pan out, they are just traded for more, with the never-ending mantra of “rebuilding” for 2 or 3 years in the future. All the while, I can’t think of a single player in recent memory that I associate specifically with the A’s. Heck, even the Pirates- the PIRATES- have McCutchen!

    But let’s say I’m wrong about that entire paragraph. Let’s say Billy Beane IS great, and none of what’s gone wrong has been his fault. Things have still gone wrong to the point that the A’s can’t commit to ONE SINGLE PLAYER for any substantial length of time, and they’re going to lock the GM in the for the rest of the decade, when the decade just started?! What good is committing to a GM long term for a ton of money, when you allegedly can’t commit to a single player? Can’t you at least wait those 2 or 3 years to see if this latest attempt at rebuilding (I even resisted using quotes there) worked out THIS time? What good does it do for an organization to lock up its star GM if, for WHATEVER reason, he can’t establish a team that won’t get traded away? And why does it seem so many A’s fans are willing to give a pass Billy Beane such a pass, anyway, when Cincinatti, Tampa Bay, and Milwaukee are basically in the same boat, but have at least manage to build around a few core players? What has anyone seen in the past half decade (or more) from Billy Beane that not only shields him from criticism, but earns hin praise and the longest extension of any GM- other than having been portrayed by Brad Pitt in a movie? Clearly there’s something I don’t understand about this.

    I’ll just close by saying that I don’t know what the answers is for the A’s, but it sure isn’t an increasingly embarrassing and totally washed up Manny Ramirez, who isn’t going to help sell any tickets- even for the wrong reasons. And hey, maybe I’m wrong about all this, and all those “dislikes” I’m sure to get will be earned. I guess we’ll find out in 2 or 3 years.

    • stex52 - Feb 8, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      I can’t claim to be close enough to be any kind of expert, but your note matches with my impressions about the A’s. I hope that they (and the Astros) exceed expectations. Because expectations are pretty grim.

  7. humanexcrement - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Billy Beane is not my lover…

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