Surviving the American League Week 9: Billy Beane

OAKLAND CA - DECEMBER 14: Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (R) looks on as Hideki Matsui (L) speaks during a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 14 2010 in Oakland California. The Oakland Athletics signed designated hitter Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million plus possible incentives for the 2011 season. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In light of the pending switch to the American League, each week TCB is helping you adjust to the trauma, breaking down a particular topic each week...Next up we look at Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane.

Wasn't he the guy who wrote the book Moneyball?
TCB: Michael Lewis. And you're officially on par with Joe Morgan.
Dark, sandy looking hair?
TCB: Again. Wrong. That's Brad Pitt. In the film Moneyball. Billy only wishes he looked that good. Or so people say. I have no thoughts on Pitt. Good film though.
So what was Keith Law so hot under the collar about?
TCB: Perhaps he showed up expecting to see a documentary. It was a bit of a mish mash and some plot elements did not work, but overall there was plenty of entertaining stuff in it.
So this is the wiley old fox the Astros will be dealing with till at least 2019?
TCB: Yep. Incidentally Oakland's record this season is half a game better than the Astros today.
Beane has ‘blown up' his team again, dealing Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez in the winter. We'll have to keep an eye on whether the ownership can swing a move to San Jose. New acquisitions Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes have all had good seasons so far.
Potted biographies wise for those who have not seen the film, Beane was drafted as a player by the Mets and played a hundred or so games in the majors before becoming a scout with the Athletics, then assistant GM to Sandy Alderson and GM in 1997.
This is the part where you tell me what's directly relatable to the Astros?

TCB: Yes indeed. Ten years ago, the A's had seven of the first 39 picks in a draft that could have restocked the entire system. Instead they got Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton, Mark Teahen and little else.* As important as that draft obviously was in their 2002 season, it did not get a mention in the movie, even though it obviously made up quite a bit of the book.
So you're telling me to temper my enthusiasm, right?
TCB:By some miracle that Jeff Luhnow signs all of his first 11 draft picks, that all of them even make it to the majors seems highly unlikely. Having Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Rio Ruiz, Brett Phillips and Hunter Virant in our system will look damn good, but none of these are slam dunks.
So what will our "Moneyball Draft" be called?
TCB: The Luhnow Draft? The Heck Draft? The Heck Luhnow Draft? At best what the Astros have done is shown a successful path through the maze of new rules provided by the new CBA. Signing Correa as early as they will today and for the amount of money must create leverage for teams below them.
I guess Bobby Heck has set the bar pretty high by saying the task was to draft 41 major leaguers?
TCB: Well, sweeping rhetoric certainly. We will see.

*What do Jonathan Papelbon and J.R. Towles both have in common? They were both drafted in 2002 by the A's, both did not sign of course. Towles was picked the next year by the A's again*, before signing with the Astros in 2004.

For more on the Moneyball Draft.

*Billy Beane is officially The Man Who Drafted J.R. Towles TWICE.

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