Hanging out with Michael Lewis
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| By bigthree17 on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:04 pm:|
So today was the day I got to meet Michael Lewis. It started with lunch, and then later drinks after the seminar. He's just an absolutely great guy. Keep in mind that there were 5-6 of us at the table with him, so I wasn't able to ask every question I wanted, and those I did were often cut off by other people. Anyway, among the nuggets from our conversation:
- Michael has become great friends with Billy since the book was published; not as much during the writing of it. They speak on an almost daily basis now.
- The sale is a done deal. Billy is currently negotiating with the new ownership group to stay. Among his chief concerns is that he wants complete autonomy of baseball decisions; this is more important to him than the money. Michael believes the new ownership group will do what it has to to keep Billy.
- Now that most teams have caught onto OPS, a lot of people think defense is the next stage of "Moneyball". That's actually old news at this point: the A's and Red Sox, for example, have already developed their theories about defense. They've already moved on and are now analyzing inefficiencies in the amateur draft.
- Chavez was signed long-term because the A's were able to buy out his prime years, and at a discount, because his defense was still undervalued. The team was particularly concerned about Miggy's age.
- He loves the trades Billy made this summer. When I asked him if he thought it would have been a better route to trade some of our prospects over the last couple of years for established players (with other teams paying the freight) to make a real run with the Big Three, and then either take the picks when those guys become free agents or trade them in their walk years, he said no. The reason being is that wins are the most important thing for the health of the franchise, and this franchise could not afford to deal with 3-4 years of rebuilding.
- Daric Barton is viewed as the prime piece in the deals.
- Billy was ready to deal all three. He had a deal in place for Zito but the other team wussed out (I know the team and the deal but I can't say).
- His next major piece will be a tell-all from a minor leaguer about steroid use in the minors.
- The average casual fan that visits certain blog fan sites with even a modicum of intelligence has a better grasp of statistical analysis than most sportswriters.
There was a lot of other stuff we talked about, I just can't remember it all. If/when it comes to me I'll add it to this thread.
Anyway, just thought I'd share with you guys.
| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:31 pm:|
thanks for sharing big3
did you get any update on Grady Fuson and Billy?
| By bigthree17 on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 10:00 pm:|
Damn it. I knew I forgot something. I do think I read somewhere that he was hired by another organization.
Another item of interest: The A's actually used to purposely use their 2nd or 3rd best reliever as the closer, let him rack up a ton of saves, raise his market value, then deal him because "saves" were so overvalued. I'm sure this is what they hoped to do with Rhodes, but he couldn't hold up his end of the bargain. Pure genius.
| By deajay on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 10:38 pm:|
Great stuff, bigthree (especially about Billy and new ownership), even though, as you say, some of it we were aware of. Interesting about Zito, too. I don't know which team it is, but have a strong opinion on that. Also, don't know if the deal is finalized yet, but the last rumors had Fuson going to Toronto. But I haven't seen anything further on it.
As we've all have the chance to digest Billy's moves this winter, I think most of us feel he did good. There's little doubt that had he kept the staff intact, Durazo would not have been re-signed, nor would possibly Dotel, either, we'd probably have a rookie catcher and a stagnant pen. I think this team's chances are better than they would have been had the deals not been made, for those reasons.
Thanks a lot for sharing all that. Let's hope the new owners give Billy whatever he wants.
| By bigthree17 on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:10 pm:|
No problem, guys. Yeah, there's definitely some rehash. There was also some pretty juicy stuff discussed that I can't/shouldn't get into.
| By kevink on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:25 pm:|
What about Tabitha Soren?
Did you meet her too?
| By bigthree17 on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:49 am:|
No, Tabitha didn't make it. Too bad. My favorite author and a former MTV icon at the same time would have been sensory overload.
| By raiderjohn on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 01:43 pm:|
Wow, all 3 would have been gone. I wonder want the proposed return package was for Zito. Similar to the other one's, a major league ready player plus 2 high end prospects.
| By asch on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:24 pm:|
probably the baltimore one?
| By washfan on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:43 pm:|
How about field managerial items?
Even though I can see why Billy would keep Cacah around (So that he can manage by proxy), he must realize that the man is a below average in game strategist and that he tends to aleinate his players. We all know Papa Art was not the best but young players played for him and he handled players in the media with class.
Also, since we have turned over the pitching staff would it not have been great to have Peterson about now? I know he wanted to be closer to his family but one of the real reasons he wanted to leave was his disdain for Cacah.
| By bigthree17 on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:57 pm:|
We did talk about this. The role of the on-field manager has obviously been decreased. The front office comes up with the game plan, and the manager is there to execute it. However, Macha is still in charge of in-game decisions (pitching changes, pinch hitters, hit and run, etc.). Also, Billy would like Macha to be more of a clubhouse presence, e.g., if a guy screws around go ahead and bench him for a game or two. Billy would totally stand by this type of managerial decision. However, Macha isn't the type to do something like that.
Guys, I'm going out of town for a couple of days, so I won't be able to respond to any other questions. I hope you found this somewhat interesting.
| By oakchick on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 09:59 pm:|
Thank you Big3 ---you and Blez made my offseason.
| By deajay on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:04 pm:|
Adam if you talking about Zito and Baltimore ... that would be my guess too.
| By asch on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:25 pm:|
I talking about Zito to Baltimore, yes.
Like how I using the smiley now??
aren't you proud of me?
| By deajay on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 08:50 am:|
Looking good. Now I can understand your ;)'s better.