OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: A's spending
Yesterday there was an article in the NYTimes by Murray Chass about how the revenue from the A's new ballpark might make it possible to keep our own players. The article below is by Rob Neyer from ESPN Insider:
Mind over money in Oakland
Yesterday in The New York Times, Murray Chass wrote this about Agreed [something weird here, probably was supposed to be a link to the NYT article].
But is that a good thing? Chass continues ...
Billy Beane has had plenty of practice with substitution, just as his mentor, Sandy Alderson, did. In the past decade, the Athletics have lost an all-star team of players to free agency or pre-emptive trades:
Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Jason Isringhausen.
"I don't mind spending money," Beane said. "It's not spending money. It's spending it on the right people."
They would include many of those departed players.
"It would be nice to keep what you want to keep," Beane said. "The biggest difficulty in Oakland isn't saying, 'Go out and sign free agents.' The most difficult thing is not being able to maintain what you create. We want to be able to keep those players through the prime of their careers instead of losing them in the prime of their careers."
Hmmm. Let's go through that list, beginning with Giambi (because McGwire's ancient history). Player, salary in millions (plus prorated bonus, if any), and 2007 stats:
Player Salary in millions (plus prorated bonus, if any) 2007 stats
Giambi $24.0 .262-7-23 (injured)
Tejada $14.0 .302-7-3
Damon $13.0 .257-4-23
Zito $10.0 6-7, 4.41
Izzy $8.8 14 saves, 1.67
Hudson $8.5 6-4, 3.25
Dye $6.8 .229-11-33
Mulder $5.0 Injured
I suspect that if you offered Billy Beane his choice of these players, at those salaries, he would take one of them: Hudson. And maybe Isringhausen (though Beane doesn't like to pay the market rate for saves). And what about Eric Chavez, the one star the A's did keep? Do you think they're happy to be spending $9.5 million for a .313 on-base percentage?
Beane knows all this better than I do. Nevertheless, there's a great deal of local pressure, both inside the organization and out, to retain your stars. If the money had been available, I've little doubt the A's would have kept -- or tried hard to keep -- Hudson, Mulder, and Zito. But, of course, if they still had their three aces, they wouldn't be nearly as good as they are.
Every executive thinks he'll be better off with more money. Sure, a lot of free agents wind up costing a lot more than they're worth. But I won't make those mistakes, he thinks. But he will. If the A's had $100 million to spend, right now they'd be spending too much of it on guys like Tejada, Mulder, and Zito.
The A's new ballpark will generate a great deal of revenue. The seats will be more expensive, and there will be more people who want to sit in them. Will the new money help on the field? Yes, but only marginally. The A's won't have enough money to play the free-agency game with the big boys. And if you can't play with the Red Sox and the Yankees, you might as well not play much at all.
Put it in development....scouting, minor leagues, yea that list isn't really pretty with 20-20 hindsight. Sports is about emotion, wanting to stick with the Giambi's, Huddy, Tejadas. Beane has really separated that and look at the A's an annual contender since 2000. You can be emotionally attached to players.....ie the guys across the bay, but I'd rather win now and have a good future.
"The A's won't have enough money to play the free-agency game with the big boys. And if you can't play with the Red Sox and the Yankees, you might as well not play much at all."
Exactly. So why alienate your existing fan base by tarping off half the stadium and building a new ballpark you can't get to and can't afford to sit in even if you could get there?
The Selig Model. Go ask the folks in Pittsburg how they like it.
New Stadium = Fool's Gold