Billy Beane getting frustrated with financial gap between teams

We've mentioned Billy Beane as a GM candidate here in the past.  The question has always been whether he would leave Oakland, the place where he became an icon and his scrappy, cleverly constructed teams regularly gave the Yankees all they could handle -- with just a fraction of their payroll.

An article today by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times seems to confirm suspicions that Beane is become frustrated with the financial iniquities that exist in modern baseball.  Where once he was able to find undervalued players and sign them underneath everyone's noses, now he has to compete with teams who have adopted his philosophies -- but can do it with more resources.  His advantages seem to have been taken away.  Craig Breslow, a reliever on the team who attended Yale, makes a similar observation,

“For a while, it was a market inefficiency. Certain players were undervalued, and Billy could identify them, the guys who projected well. Now, we’re obviously not going to be able to outbid some of the other teams that are using those same metrics. Now guys that hit home runs and get on base a lot cost $20 million a year. Where’s the next place to look?”

But it isn't Breslow just saying this.  It's Beane himself.  He's competitive guy and he misses the ability to compete with the big boys.  With the Cubs, he would be one of those big boys -- in fact, he'd be the team with the most resources in his division, if not the whole league.  Here's what Beane said about trying to compete in baseball's new environment,

“You’re never going to have equilibrium in terms of revenues everywhere.  But, listen, we’re all competitive, so it certainly gets frustrating.  Just being able to carve out a future for the franchise has been most frustrating. Because of the venue situation, it’s hard to put together a business plan beyond the next fiscal year.  There are a lot of smart guys running teams now, and a lot of the guys who are smart also have a lot of money. That’s a pretty tough combination to go against. We’ve all started valuing the same things. "

Beane wouldn't have these problems as GM of the Cubs.  He'd have the ability to identify the players he likes and the money to bid for them if he has to compete with other teams.  He still won't have the money that the Yankees do, but he'll have much more than the Brewers and the Cardinals, and he will have as much, if not more, than the Phillies, Braves, and other competitors in the National League.  A competitive guy like Beane would love another shot at a World Series title.  He'd certainly welcome the chance to go another few rounds with the Yankees, but this time he could be going up against them as a fellow heavyweight.   Could that opportunity be too much for him to pass up?

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  • John ... The AL West is a tale of haves and have nots. As to Beane, I know he has gotten a lot of press and a lot of noise ... now that the playing field has been "leveled" question is - was he a one-trick pony? And now that that trick is available to everyone, does he have any actual talent? Resources are one thing to be sure. It's not (to me) unlike players making adjustments ... too many eyes watching ... gotta keep up.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I look at it more as that everyone is using the same trick now. They haven't so much countered Beane as they've taken his idea and poured money into it -- and that's something he can't match.

  • Yep, he should be the first choice. He obviously knows what he's doing, he invented the SABR-based approach to being a GM, he's still relatively young, he's never won a World Series and since it apparently matters he'd give the Cubs somebody fans will get very excited about.

    Get Beane.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    I like him too because he has the confidence (or ego, depending on your point of view) to take his ideas and change the entire culture of the club. Every team in every league was aware of what was expected. I think I remember reading in Moneyball that a player could not receive an award from the organization unless they had at least a .350 OBP...or something like that. But the point is it was more than just lip service from the top, the philosophy permeated down to the lowest levels of the minors.

    I'd be very excited if Beane came here. And Oakland has a ready replacement in Forst, so maybe there's a chance we can steal him away...

  • As much as I would like to have Billy Beane running the Cubs, I can't see it happening. As long as the owner of the A's owns the team, Beane has a job for life. He's part owner and eventually he will be the CEO/Pres for all the owner's ventures, its' hard to walk away from that.

  • In reply to rodeosteve:

    The contract/ownership situation is certainly what would hold him back -- but I don't think it'd be hard for him to walk away from Oakland and into a better opportunity. It's hard for me to imagine someone as competitive settling for the comfort given him by ownership if the price for that is losing year after year. He would almost certainly build a winner in Chicago and have a chance to go for the one thing he doesn't have -- a World Series ring, and what better place to get one than in Chicago?

    Just heard too that the Cubs may try to pry Epstein loose...gotta give them credit, they're thinking big.

  • Beane is very similar to Bobby V for me. I've wanted Bobby V to manage this team for years now. Part of the reason, along with immense talent, is you can see, hear, and feel a hunger to win a World Series. And Beane would be no exception.

    Granted, Beane wants to do it to feed his giant Ego. I would not be shocked in the least if after winning the Word series Beane has the Harry Carry statue replaced with a statue of himself. But i'd take it if it meant a championship and a parade.

    The only thing that scares me about beane is his team models have a tendency to blow up. Is that due to financial constraints? or, is it really just based on pitching health? Oakland was suppose to have a killer staff this year. and look what happened.

    But the desire is thee to win. And while I think Cashman,and hell even Theo, would still want to win, it won't kill their reputation if they don't. Andy MacPhail ( Spell Macphail with an F.....) is ruining his second team but is still considered a genius by most. Beane's hunger, in addition to his smarts and his ability, make him a very appealing candidate.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I think that's what separates Beane from some of the other experienced candidates. I think he has the strongest will to succeed after coming so close and then having the rug pulled out from under him when.

    His ego helps in that respect and it doesn't bother me at all. He could rename the stadium The Milagro Beane Field for all I care -- as long as he brings a ring here to the north side.

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    Beane's minority ownership in the A's is not a problem that can't be solved with money. His contract situation is what is sticky. He is signed through 2014 according to Cot's. If I'm the A's owner, I'm not letting him go for nothing. The question begs: "If you are the Ricketts' family and Billy Beane is the guy you want, how far are you willing to go to get him?"

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    We know the Sox wanted Mike Stanton for Guillen...but yeah, I'm guessing some sort of compensation would be in order. I'd rather it be financial than a player though.

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    BTW, I thought this tidbit about Epstein was interesting.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I heard about that on the radio but haven't had a chance to read the article yet. Will definitely check it out. That would seem to good to be true.

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    Any idea who claimed Pena?

  • Could be the Giants, D'Backs or the Angels if I had to guess...hope it's the Angels. They've made a habit of taking on money and making bad trades.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Just heard it may be none of the above...some talk, including Buster Olney, that it may be the Cleveland Indians in on Carlos Pena. I mentioned them in the Pena article earlier but I thought other teams had a bigger need. We'll find out soon...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This makes sense, with Hafner being done.

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  • I don't necessarily believe the Cubs will continue to maintain a high payroll once they get done with Ramirez (after this seaosn), Zambrano (hopefully soon) and Soriano (God, I wish he was gone). Unless Ricketts gets money to help fund the renovation of Wrigley Field, the job may not be as appealing as you think.

  • In reply to BobWarja:

    I don't think it will be as high as it was in the McDonough/Kenney days, but I believe it will still be among the highest in baseball. They did show they're willing to spend for amateur talent. I guess we'll find out soon enough whether they're willing to spend on big league talent. I think they will, but it won't be for guys like Pujols or Fielder.

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