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Tag:Billy Beane
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:50 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 11:59 pm
 

Moneyball swept on Oscar night

By Matt Snyder

"Moneyball" entered Sunday night with six Oscar nominations. It went home with zero wins. Call it the postseason after a glowing regular season, if you will, with the movie came up empty-handed.

It was only fitting. Billy Beane's Athletics made the playoffs five times in a seven-year span, yet never won a single game in the ALCS. Four times they lost three games to two in the ALDS and they were swept in their only ALCS appearance (2006).

Complete CBSNews.com coverage of the Oscars

The nominations were for best picture, best actor (Brad Pitt as Beane), best supporting actor (Jonah Hill as "Peter Brand" aka Paul DePodesta), best screenplay, best achievement in editing and best achievement in sound mixing.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:15 pm
 

Manny just the latest A's retread



By C. Trent Rosecrans


The A's adding Manny Ramirez was hardly a surprise -- it had been rumored for a while.

But it should be even less surprising considering the track record of A's general manager Billy Beane. Beane, of course, is probably the most famous general manager since Branch Rickey thanks to Moneyball (the book and the movie), in part because of his eye for a bargain. While the biggest bargains in baseball are usually young players under team control, there's also value in older players that other teams don't want anymore. Beane's had more than his share of those types of players.

In Moneyball (again, both the book and the movie), Beane's addition of a declining David Justice paid dividends as the 36-year-old hit 11 homers in 118 games (not to mention putting up a .376 on-base percentage). Last season Beane picked Hideki Matsui out of the bargain bin along with a Stephen King novel at Barnes and Noble. This season, it's Ramirez, who will get $500,000 contract with the big-league club after serving his 50-game suspension.

Manny RamirezUsually it's former corner outfielders or first basemen who can add a little slugging and some decent on-base skills (two things Ramirez should be able to add), to be used at DH and in the field in a pinch. Sometimes it works, like with Justice, other times it doesn't -- like with Eric Karros in 2004. But it's cheap, so these veterans are as disposable as a cheap razor.

Here's a list of significant players near the end of their career signed by the A's since Beane took over in 1998, followed by the season they played in Oakland, how old they were that season, their slash line, home runs and RBI.

Rickey Henderson 1998, 39, .236/.376/.347, 1, 14 (led the league with 66 stolen bases and 118 walks)
*Kevin Mitchell 1998, 36, .228/.279/.346, 2, 21
*Tony Phillips 1999, 40, .244/.362/.433, 15, 49
Tim Raines 1999, 39, .215/.337/.341, 4, 17
*Mike Stanley 2000, 37, .268/.363/.464, 4, 18
Ron Gant 2001, 36, .259,.344/.420, 2, 13
*David Justice 2002, 36, .266/.376/.410, 11, 49
*Ron Gant 2003, 38, .146/.182/.220, 1, 4
*Eric Karros 2004, 36, .194/.243/.311, 2, 11
*Mike Piazza 2007, 38, .275/.313/.414, 8, 44
Mike Sweeney 2008, 34, .286/.331/.397, 2, 12
Frank Thomas 2008, 40, .263/.364/.387, 5, 19
*Nomar Garciaparra 2009, 35, .281/.314/.388, 3, 16
Jason Giambi 2009, 38, .193/.332/.364, 11, 40
**Hideki Matsui 2011, 37, .251/.321/.375, 12, 72

* retired after their year with the A's
** Matsui is currently an unsigned free agent

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:23 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:41 pm
 

AL West will be the new AL East



By Matt Snyder


The AL East has been pretty widely regarded as the best division in baseball for a while. And with good reason, as the numbers don't lie. In the past 15 years, the AL wild card has come from the AL East 11 times. The best record has also come from the AL East 11 times. The American League World Series representative has come from the AL East nine times, while the World Series champion was an AL East team six times. Also note the '96 Yankees won it all, 16 seasons ago. Simply, it's a dominant division.

But with the events of this offseason, we're liable to see a shift in power to the west coast. Monday's Yoenis Cespedes signing for the A's wasn't a seismic shift type deal, but it shows they're focusing on winning within the next four years. Also note that the extensions of general manager Billy Beane and club president Michael Crowley are a true sign the A's will eventually get their new stadium in San Jose. When that happens, they'll start to have some extra revenue. So things should be looking up for the A's in the next few years, right? Well, not so fast.

AL West offseason
In fact, the A's might be looking like the AL West's version of the Baltimore Orioles. Since 2000, the Orioles haven't finished better than third -- which happened only once -- and have come in last the past four seasons. They've also had a payroll of at least $72 million seven of the past 11 seasons. They aren't poor by any means. They just can't keep up in the monster of a division that is the AL East.

Let's see what's in store for the A's in the next decade or so, in terms of their divisional competition.

• The Angels have an owner who just shelled out over $300 million to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in free agency. It probably didn't seem like much of a big deal to Arte Moreno, considering he's looking at a local TV contract of 20 years for $3 billion. Plus, the Angels play in the mega-market that is Los Angeles. They aren't going away.

• The Rangers paid over $50 million just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish and then paid him over $50 million more to sign. The have a front office and ownership group that can compete with anyone in terms of brains and most teams in terms of dollars. The Dallas area is a large market and the fan base is continuing to grow after two straight World Series appearances. They aren't going away, either.

• The Astros are moving to the American League West, and while it's gonna be a few years before they can compete, remember they have a new owner, Jim Crane, who likely didn't pay $680 million to own a doormat of a baseball team. Plus, Houston is one of the largest markets in America -- and the Astros had a nine-figure payroll in 2009. Don't discount how they'll play in this division come 2015 or 2016. They can spend, and will have to in order to keep up.

• The Mariners are in the 12th biggest market in MLB, which isn't bad at all. But they'd be at risk of falling far behind if not for a lucrative TV deal in their near future. Last week, a USA Today report noted the Mariners are among a handful of teams ready to cash in with a mega-TV deal like the Angels just did. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners can opt out of their current local TV deal with Root Sports and hit the open market. The Seattle Times also pointed out that the Mariners have trimmed their bottom line to the point that the only long-term investment is the reliable ace Felix Hernandez. So they could be positioning for a major strike within the next few years, after landing the aforementioned lucrative TV deal.

The process is going to be gradual, especially and obviously with the Mariners, Astros and A's.

Just don't be surprised if a decade from now the AL West is viewed as the best division in baseball. The resources are all falling into place for a westward move in the balance of league power.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Cespedes discusses A's, Marlins, coming to USA

By Matt Snyder

Cespedes to A's
The big news in the baseball world Monday was the signing of Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes. He ended up with Billy Beane's Oakland A's, not the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs or Detroit Tigers.

Cespedes is a 26-year-old outfielder. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba. He hit .458 in six games during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

After the signing Monday, Cespedes spoke to MLB.com about his new deal to play in America. Here's what he had to say, again, via MLB.com:
"I am super happy because it's been a dream of mine for a long time," Cespedes said. "To leave my country and play in the big leagues is what the goal was. My family is really happy, too. They are living their dreams through me."

"My first goal is to make the team and stay healthy all season, and little by little, I'll make more goals," Cespedes said. "I've been preparing every day for this and I 100 percent believe that I am ready for the Major Leagues. I have a lot of international experience and experience at a high level. I'm very confident in my abilities."

"Miami was a great visit," Cespedes said. "I had a good time. I ate with the team president and other people in front office. They were nice and it was a great experience, but the A's were for me."

"It was a great process, training and working out for teams," Cespedes said. "It was difficult decision to leave Cuba, but I'm really excited with how things worked out. I saw a bunch of teams and they saw me, too, but Oakland was the best for me."
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Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:25 am
 

Canseco earns tryout with Mexican team



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Shockingly unable to get a deal with the A's by asking on Twitter, Jose Canseco is headed to Mexico in an attempt to restart his baseball career.

Canseco, 47, earned a tryout with the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League, the team announced on Sunday.

The former MVP and Rookie of the Year had taken to Twitter to beg A's general manager Billy Beane for a tryout earlier this offseason. Beane, obviously, didn't bite.

Canseco last played in the majors in 2001 for the White Sox and in the minor leagues for the White Sox in 2002. In parts of 17 seasons Canseco hit .266/.353/.515 with 462 home runs, in a career he's admitted was aided greatly by steroids.

Last year, Canseco played in 64 games with the Yuma Scorpions of the North American Baseball League, hitting .256/.371/.427 with eight home runs. He played in other independent leagues in 2001, 2006 and 2010.

Canseco took to Twitter on Sunday to confirm the news.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:29 pm
 

Oakland's Beane, Crowley to sign extensions

By Matt Snyder

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and president Michael Crowley could be running things for owner Lew Wolff for a long time. The two executives have agreed to sign contract extensions through the 2019 season, the owner said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Oakland's Busy Offseason
“I view them as partners as well as executives,” Wolff said (Bloomberg.com). “So if they are here another 30 years, that is fine with me. I may not be here to see it, but that will be fine.”

Immediately after the news broke, several Oakland area reporters noted on Twitter that this is a great sign the A's are going to get their new stadium in San Jose. Wolff himself hinted as much.

“Somebody said the reason I am doing it is I want one or the other to be able to wheel me into the new stadium,” Wolff said (Bloomberg.com).

Beane has been the GM since the end of the 1997 season while Crowley has been president since the end of the '98 campaign. Beane, 49, is famously portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie "Moneyball," which was released last summer. Under this management tandem, the A's went to the playoffs five times in seven years (2000-03, 2006). On the flip-side, the A's haven't been above .500 since 2006 and finished 74-88 last season.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:41 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 11:05 am
 

'Moneyball' receives six Oscar nominations

By Matt Snyder

"Moneyball" has made the playoffs, if you will, now let's see if it can do what the real-life Oakland A's of the 2000s could not: Win it all.

More Moneyball
The movie based upon the book that was based upon Oakland general manager Billy Beane struggling to keep up with the large-market clubs in the early 2000s has received six Oscar nominations (IMDB.com) -- and they aren't all trivial ones, either.

The film has been nominated for best picture. It'll have to compete with the following: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life and War Horse.

The two main characters also got some love. Brad Pitt -- who played Beane -- has been nominated for best actor and Jonah Hill -- who played "Peter Brand" aka Paul DePodesta -- has been nominated for best supporting actor.

Other nominations: Best screenplay, best achievement in editing and best achievement in sound mixing.

Oh, and to those who wish to complain about how the movie ignored Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez, let's note that the film was not nominated in any of the categories recognizing documentaries. It was supposed to be entertaining while based loosely on a true story.

Here is the theatrical trailer:



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Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Report: A's interested in Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Billy Beane's Home for Wayward Designated Hitters may have found its next resident. The A's are "very interested" in bringing in Manny Ramirez, ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports.

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Ramirez, 39, will have to serve a 50-game suspension at the beginning of the season, but then would be free to DH for whatever team will have him. According ot the report, the Orioles and Blue Jays watched Ramirez at a batting cage and liked what they saw.

Last season Hideki Matsui was the celebrity guest star in the A's lineup, but the team has decided not to bring him back.

Ramirez had one hit in 17 plate appearances in five games for the Rays before he was suspended for 100 games for his second positive drug test and subsequently retired. Ramirez applied for reinstatement in December. His suspension was reduced to 50 games after missing the entire 2011 season.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com