It’s a good question indeed. “What in the world is Billy Beane up to?” One might say that he’s putting the Oakland Athletics into a rebuilding phase, restocking the farm system, planning for 2016 or even farther, a kind of Chicago Cubs-esque move if you will. I say that Mr. Beane is getting primed for a big move, a move that no one expects, and changes the landscape of the American League as we know it. Let’s look at some of Beane’s most recent moves.
July 31st, 2014:
Why? The A’s had good pitching already, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jeff Samardzija, among others, to make for a darn good rotation. So why give up the kind of run production Cespedes gave the A’s for Lester? Certainly it was a move that led to the A’s demise down the stretch. So why do it? Especially if Lester was set to become a free agent? Look at it this way, Cespedes was set for a big pay-day, and if Beane was thinking into the future, was Cespedes (who supposedly had attitude problems) a part of that plan? More on this later.
November 28th, 2014:
Why? Donaldson was a gold glove-caliber third baseman, a 20+ homer guy, a cornerstone, so why give him up? Again I think that the thing was Donaldson was set for a big payday, and Beane chose to take Lawrie who is talented enough in his own right and will cost far far less than Donaldson, as well as restock the farm system a bit after making moves with both Chicago teams that involved prospects, most notably SS Addison Russell, who was traded to the Cubs in the Samardzija deal.
Why? Money money money, just like Donaldson and Cespedes, Samardzija is set for a payday, and it seems the A’s don’t want to be the ones to pay him. The A’s need power, and adding Upton plus Gattis would give them just that, and both could be signed to reasonable contracts.
I think with all this money dumping and especially if the A’s get the deal done with Atlanta, Mr. Beane and Co. will be just about ready to call up Jon Lester. This is what it all comes down to, folks, these moves aren’t just a money dumping, look towards the years ahead, roll over for a couple years deals, these are deals that give the A’s solid returns and give them the flexibility they need to pitch a substantial offer to Lester, as well as be in the hunt to take their crown in the West.
Now, instead of paying Cespedes a monster contract that handcuffs the A’s for years to come, they have Upton and Gattis signed to modest deals that only help the A’s. Instead of paying Donaldson a monster contract and handcuffing themselves the A’s now have Lawrie, who is just as effective as Donaldson, with a bit less pop sure but still an All-Star talent. Instead of Samardzija they have Lester. It’s all part of the plan, the plan that keeps everyone else scratching their heads now, but could have everyone saying “Wow” just like they did on July 31st. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen, because it is my belief that there is a storm coming, and Billy Beane is at the center of it all.