Results tagged ‘ Billy Beane ’

Brett Lawrie, I bid you adieu.

 

2015-TU-265-Brett-LawrieIn the news: Donald Trump and his xenophobic rhetoric and unrealistic, infantile threats of massive bombing have been dominating the attention span of talking heads recently. I am a member of one of the most pessimistic and ironic generations that has ever roamed the earth–Generation X — so all of this is difficult to process as I can’t get past Trump’s silver-spoon-since-birth shitty bourgeoise attitude and makes me laugh/makes me want to kill someone psychedelic hairpiece. It’s also offensive that the man is using death, suffering and a public existential crisis to further his own political agenda; not caring a lick about working class struggles or fears. Truly a sickening individual with no ability to conceive the reality that average Americans face everyday. “Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance.” – Albert Einstein

 

MLB’s alcoholic circle jerk known as the Winter Meetings took place in Nashville and new Oakland G.M. David Forst harkened back to the early days when teams would try to find the drunkest guy in the room and then proceed to pilfer him for great players on the cheap. Forst recently lived up to that generalization when he traded Brett Lawrie to the White Sox and in exchange the South-Siders sent minor leaguers RHP J.B. Wendelken (AAA) and LHP Zack Erwin (A) to the A’s. Neither was on the Sox’s list of Top-30 prospects. This trade was a head-scratcher because of its insignificance.You would think that the Oakland ball-club would try to squeeze something more appetizing out of the Sox because of their desperate attempt to pick up ANYONE better than Mike Oltdave justice pepsi dollar at third base. Let us take a pause… we’ve now traded Josh Donaldson for 3 minor league pitchers, 1 major league pitcher, and a very young (albeit in theory future superstar)short stop. Forst just pushed the button on the evaluation of the that ill-fated trade even further. Lawrie? who knows…he probably called out Beane for not stocking the vending machine with free sodas. (this may be an inside joke to the clueless, hello Dave Justice!) Joking aside, the trade may have been a desperate attempt at dumping “Tweaker” as there have been whispers about Lawrie being a clubhouse nuisance after not one teammate stepped up when was drilled early in the season by Kansas City.
Something tells me the A’s will be okay without Lawrie, and that moving on was the hard-boiled thing to do. Lawrie will always be seen by this blog as a hard-nosed player with a serious hitch in his swing, horrible plate approach and is partial to tattoos and copious amounts of energy drinks. With Lawrie you see the sweat, blood, tears, screams, anger, defeat, triumph, joy, sadness and a .299 OBP. (probably the real reason why he was traded.) You see every bit of it. But unfortunately individuals with freakish athleticism don’t always translate well to the baseball field. Just ask Michael Jordan.

Ben Zobrist we hardly knew ye.

2015-tsr-153-ben-zobristOh, how A’s fans are tossed violently by the storms of life; by stupidity, by cruelty, by the miserable human condition and by the one thing that most people desire over all others….money.
The celestial qualities of Billy Frijoles and his ability to predict the future seemed to show chinks last week as he sent a position player, a starter and a closer to various teams for a menagerie of minor league prospects. The gods have, seemingly, spoken and past mistakes must be rectified. These same gods, as of yet, have not spoken on his allegiance to the people of Oakland. His greed, self-preservation and time will speak of that.
The Zobrist trade was the ultimate insult to injury as he was sent to the Royals, the team that knocked the Athletics out of title contention in the one game Wild Card due to a terrible bullpen and a catcher that couldn’t throw out Ty Cobb’s corpse–all in the same year the team went “all in” and had a chance at a World Series crown.
Someone once defined the meaning of life as “the interruption of peaceful non-existence.” I will have to remember this as I watch the rest of the regular season play out. The Oakland ball-club will be all but non-existent after they are picked clean by teams like vultures devouring a fresh corpse before the trading deadline. A mere ghost whose future will only be acknowledged on the back of bubble gum cards by young boys and in the mind of statisticians.
What are the Royals receiving? Depth, a “name,” and a W.A.R. hero, (quite less admirable than the gentleman who shot Osama Bin Laden) with 2 of the 3 attributes being worthless in the reality of the everyday game. At this stage in his career Zobrist is a 34-year-old, average hitter who can play multiple positions but is also a hinderance at the 7 position. It will be interesting to see how Ned Yost, a manager not known for his intelligence or tactical ability uses a player in his twilight as the Royals try to bully their way through the rest of the regular season and, ultimately, the A.L. playoffs.

What in the world is going on!?

A's suck“The fact is, we’re not going to blow teams away right now playing short. It’s more frustrating when you’re losing and you can’t explain it, but we knew when we starting losing those guys that we had a challenge ahead of us. It doesn’t make me happy, but I understand why it is happening. We’re going to have to hope the rest of division treads water.” –Billy Beane on the injuries the Athletics have faced this season.

The 2015 Oakland Athletics’ season has all the elements of a fireworks display– first, the excited anticipation, then the spectacular show, a near deafening explosion, and finally, silence. As of this writing the team has lost six in a row and are currently residing in the cellar like a red-headed step-child. They lead the league, in a pathetic display, with errors…32. (2nd baseman Eric Sogard, by himself, has 3 errors. In contrast, Mark Ellis, he of the same position had a grand total of TWO in 123 games in 2006.)

We shouldn’t be so surprised to find the ancient spirit of Pythagoras in our modern ballparks. The world is now conceived in a quantitative way more than ever before and it is seen as constituted by numerical magnitudes. Here is a but a small taste of the numerical horrors that played out before our very eyes:

— Coco Crisp came off the D.L. and perhaps showed his age or lack of passion. He is 0 for his first 21.

— The bullpen is stinkier than diarrhea on a hot tin roof in a Southern heat wave. They are a collective 2-10 with a 5.18 ERA.

— Drew Pomeranz is is proving why the Rockies gave up on him so early; even as a promising “bonus baby.” He is the poor man’s Kenny Rogers….a very, very poor man from a third world country. He is 1-3 with a 5.13 E.R.A.

lawrie a hole shirt

KC fans and their desperate attempt to stay relevant in the baseball world.

Sure, there have been injuries and a bit of bad luck. Baseball is by definition the epitome of bad luck. Here are a few of the more exciting things to happen to the Oakland ball-club during this season so far: Brett Lawrie sliding into an over-rated Alcides Escobar, prompting fans in Kansas City to make the shirts on the right…

and two teammates standing next to each other in an unfortunate and funny display of the baseball gods coming together and dangling the proverbial losing yarn in your face.

semen-burns1

this is exactly why I always aim for the breasts.

Does that sum up the baseball season so far for the Oakland Athletics? In my humble opinion, yes. The rest of the baseball world laughs at Billy Beane’s failures hysterically as the faithful remain steady….and then as soon as there is a semblance of hope, ex-Giant Pablo Sandoval hits a game winning home run for the Red Sox in the 10th inning. I curse, shrug my shoulders and fall into a slumber. What does that feel like?

Semen in the eye.

Thoughts on the Ben Zobrist trade.

Hard to understand what Billy is doing in Oakland. Turning over the entire roster and then trading away a top prospect for what? A couple of decent guys with no real upside down the road? This is a very strange trade that somehow makes sense through the fog known as the 2015 offseason. Zobrist is the WAR poster boy–and this blog doesn’t put much stock in a statistic that NO ONE knows how to compute (yet clueless nerds seem to bring up endlessly) and ultimately makes no sense. WAR doesn’t work because it says Ben Zobrist is about as good as Miguel Cabrera or Robinson Cano. Bill James, the ultimate statistical guru agreed with my assessment recently:

“Well, my math skills are limited and my data-processing skills are essentially nonexistent. The younger guys are way, way beyond me in those areas. I’m fine with that, and I don’t struggle against it, and I hope that I don’t deny them credit for what they can do that I can’t.“But because that is true, I ASSUMED that these were complex, nuanced, sophisticated systems. I never really looked; I just assumed that the details were out of my depth. But sometime in the last year I was doing some research that relied on these WAR systems, so I took a look at them, and … they’re not very impressive. They’re not well thought through; they haven’t made a convincing effort to address many of the inherent difficulties that the undertaking presents. They tend to get so far into the data, throw up their arms and make a wild guess. I don’t know if I’m going to get the time to do better of it, or if it will be left to others, but … we’re not at anything like an end point here. I assumed that these systems were a lot better than they actually are.”

Why was he acquired? Because he can do the one thing that gets Billy Beane hotter than a truck stop hooker–play multiple positions.

Yunel Escobar, who is the epitome of a lazy player with little desire, stoked my own desire in the laziest way possible. A shrug. A “who cares?” My desire to drink hot apple cider and return to bed was an infinitely stronger emotion. I barely knew the guy EXISTED. There was also the incident in Toronto where he wore his eye-black emblazoned with the words ‘TU ERE MARICON.’

jaso

John, you will be missed.

The words can be translated to mean “you are a fag” or a “pussy.”

Strange considering one of the players he was traded for–John Jaso–is sort of a poster boy for gay men as the “cutest baseball player.”

You can’t make this shit up. We here at the ‘Fro certainly don’t condone that sort of behavior, and I’m sure most Athletics fans would agree. Paying money and being at rapt attention for a lackadaisical homophobe is far down my list of enjoyable pursuits, right above getting kicked in the nuts after a bad date.

assessment: starting SS with the other horrible acquisition, Marcus Semien being moved to 2nd base.

In the end, this isn’t a BAD trade. We acquired two starters for an often concussed catcher and two minor leaguers that may never even see the AAA level. I may even learn to appreciate Zobrist’s ability to “pick and grin” or run down flies for the ONE season he will be in Oakland. The fans will probably love him for his “gamer” style of play.  On a more personal level this trade just didn’t do much for me because I have no affection for the players acquired or traded away. C’est la vie. The life of an A’s fan.

So long, J.D., you will be missed.

donaldson

This trade hurt; J.D. was easily one of my top 5 favorite Athletics of all time.

 

“We needed to do something that wasn’t timid.”

–Billy Beane

Billy Beane waltzed into the saloon again with guns blazing as he traded Josh Donaldson to the BlueJays for Brett Lawrie and 3 prospects, 2 of which are supposedly ML ready. I saw this coming when Kyle Seager, an inferior third baseman, signed a huge contract with the Mariners–all but pushing the A’s out of the picture for an extension during arbitration. Donaldson also had endeared himself to his already rabid fan base by calling owner Lou Wolff a cheap son of a bitch on Twitter, or in his own words, “they have plenty of money, my friend. they just tell everybody they don’t.

The fans are predictably upset and tired of the Oakland owners playing with MLB’s piece of the profit-share pie for ultimate profit. There is an underlying stench of betrayal, lack of loyalty and an overall disregard to the fan base. Donaldson was the Athletics most popular player and maybe the most popular 3rd baseman in franchise history. (sorry Chavy!) J.D. was very likable with his defensive hustle, power when the game was on the line and awesome trademark mullet/mohawk/rat-tail combo. He was visibly shaken and spoke to reporters about the trade: “I’m so shocked, I just got off the phone with Billy Beane, and I guess they got an offer that they couldn’t resist. I’m definitely a little emotional about it. Oakland is my home. At the end of the day, it’s a business, as much as it hurts emotionally. The guys in that clubhouse are my brothers.”

Brett-Lawrie-2

Our new guy…40 ounces to freedom!

I was/am a huge fan of J.D., and although I’ve analyzed the trade with a heavy heart, I am trying to stay positive and see the pot of gold through the rainbow, or as the Dalai Lama says, “In order to carry a positive action we must carry here a positive vision.”

1. It is no secret that Beane loves pitching, and the two minor league pitchers we received in return (Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman) put up some good numbers last year. You can be positive both of these gentleman will start a handful of games in an Athletics uniform next season all but assuring Jeff Simardizija or Scott Kazmir will be traded in a packaged deal for oh, say….Justin Upton.

2. Brett Lawrie plays 3rd base with a little bit of second sprinkled in…the dude has a shit load of tattoos and epitomizes the word “bro” more than anyone in my own personal life. The ladies might see him as a “sexy scumbag.” As far as on-the-field he is much younger than Donaldson (25) and is just a notch or 2 below J.D. on the offensive and defensive side. A major concern is his history of injury. He is definitely serviceable with the talent to be really good.

In the end Donaldson says this to the fans of Oakland:

“To the fans of Oakland: Thank you for all the memories on and off the field I truly am blessed to have been part of it. We have had a lot of great memories together and the memories I will have will always hold a special place for me. Everyday I wore that uniform with pride, and gave you all that I could. Thank you again!!”

Strap yourselves in Oakland fans….this is just the beginning.

Billy Beane pundits are ruling the media these days…my argument against their stupidity.

Billy Beane (1989 A's) 2

Feeling the heat.

By Colonel Harland Sanders

Process over results every time. All. The. Time. Process is how you sustain success. Process is how you give yourself the best odds to avoid baseball being “stupid.” It’s how you become the horrible, awful, infuriating (if you’re not from St. Louis) Cardinals. This is not to say sabermetrics are always right. Actually nobody EVER says that except for people complaining about advanced stats who seem to rest their entire argument on that particular straw man. Advanced metrics simply improve your odds and give you a better chance.

The really crazy thing to me is that this isn’t specific to sports, but it seems to be the only place where people think it’s a bad thing. Let’s say you went to the doctor because you were sick and were given 2 options; a treatment that’s been around for 20 years that is supported by all of the research and gives you an excellent chance, or a medical technique that was popular in the 50’s but has since been shown to be flawed. Would anybody pick the treatment that gives them worse odds just because that’s how “old school” doctors would have done it? Of course not! And if for some reason, you did pick the statistically flawed and it worked…that doesn’t mean you made a smart decision, it means you got lucky.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am genuinely thrilled for Royals fans. They deserved this win!* but you know who didn’t deserve this win? Ned Yost. Dayton Moore. They made poor decisions and were rewarded with dumb luck. Their victory doesn’t change that.

*you know who DIDN’T deserve that heartbreaking loss? A’s fans. These people support a club that has been trying to leave town for years. It has a crap payroll. It has a dilapidated stadium. They have lost every do-or-die game they’ve played in this millennium (0-7). And they lost the Wild Card game LIKE THAT? In a season where they really went all in? Yuck.

The Billy Beane failure chronicles…part 1

ethierandrefinn

He’s a stone cold fox! Also nicknamed “Captain Clutch.”

Even a “genius” can make mistakes. Nikola Tesla made bizarre contraptions such as an earthquake machine and a death ray. Thomas Edison wanted to make entire houses out of concrete. Einstein said that the universe was eternal (apparently he thought the Big Bang Theory was hooey.)….and Billy Beane traded Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley.

At the time the trade seemed to make sense. The Athletics needed a big bat and they acquired one in Bradley. All they had to give up was their minor league player of the year and Texas League MVP in Andre Ethier. The trade worked fine for a while as Bradley helped the A’s get to the 2006 ALCS where they were eventually swept by the hated Detroit Tigers. Bradley, however must have forgotten to take his meds the next season as he became the violent schizophrenic that he had been in Los Angeles and was traded to the Padres  after only 19 games (with cash…now THAT is desperation) for forgotten relief pitcher Andrew Brown.

poo-poo

head case.

Ethier, on the other hand became the poster boy of Los Angeles. He is one of the most beloved Dodgers to ever put on the uniform and will forever be seen as a heart-throb (right up there with Menudo!) to the female contingent of 20 and 30 somethings in the City of Angels. He is a two-time All Star, won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. Ethier also gave the Dodgers 145 career HR’s and 628 RBI’s, compared to Bradley’s 16 and 59 for the Athletics. Ethier is class–personified while Bradley is quite the opposite. The psycho burned every bridge in every city he played in until everyone finally gave up and he wasn’t re-signed after the 2011 season (he even took to wearing earplugs to drown out the heckling fans)….and it didn’t end there. Bradley was facing 13 years in prison for spousal abuse and even threatened to kill his wife on more than one occasion. Strangely enough, she died on September 14, 2013 of unknown causes. (this was swept under the rug…perhaps I might get a notice from a lawyer or 2 after this is posted.)

This was a trade of disastrous proportions and will probably go down in history as one of Mr. Beane’s worse, and to save subjective judgment is diametrically opposed to what “Moneyball” was supposed to be about in the first place. This is but the first installment of “The Billy Beane failure chronicles.”

Jason Kendall and his new book, “Throwback.”

kendall21) Let’s start off by promoting your new book, “Throwback.” (I read it…and it is definitely one of my favorite baseball books of all time.) Talk a bit about how the book came about and why you decided to do it.
First, thank you for the compliment.  I never had any intention of writing a book, it actually just fell in my lap.  I started playing for the Royals in 2010 and noticed this sports reporter named Lee Judge who was different than any other media guy I had seen over the past 15 years in the locker rooms.  Instead of focusing on the negative when interviewing guys, he was actually asking questions trying to get into the players heads and understand the game play by play.  One day, I jokingly said, “Hey, you should write a book.”  He said, “Yeah, you should write one with me.”  The next thing I knew we had a book deal.
2) What are your impressions on the Oakland organization and how does it differ from other teams?
It’s a low-market team, but Billy (Beane) always finds a way to get the right people despite the low payroll and every September they seem to be in the thick of things.  If you have listened to any of my interviews, any time I’m asked where my favorite place to play was, I always answer Oakland.  It was the first time in my career I made it to the play-offs and that is what I used to dream about when I was a kid playing wiffleball with my brother in the backyard.
3) What are your first thoughts when you see this picture? (below)
Talk about throwback.  That’s a 16 year old punk.  And they don’t make Pony-fucking spikes anymore.  I was a junior in high school and knew I was going to make it in the big leagues somehow.

kid

16 year old punk.

4) Can you get into more detail about the John Lackey confrontation? 
The A’s and the Angels had been going back and forth all year and we didn’t like them and they didn’t like us.  It became a pretty good rivalry.  It was a 2-1 count, bases were loaded, we had 1 out and I had a free RBI out there.  To give you some background, I got hit a lot and started getting a lot of contusions on my bicep so my trainers had me wear an elbow pad.   Lackey threw a curveball and I got out of the way.  I was getting ready to step back in the box and I heard, “You mother-fucker, take that elbow pad off you fuck!”  Nobody is going to speak to me that way.  I have a hard time when people yell at me, but those words really set me off and I went after him.  The next thing I knew, we were on the bottom of the pile and my arm was around his neck and I wasn’t letting go.  Every time I heard, “I can’t breathe” it made me squeeze harder. The pile broke up and that was it.  He wasn’t going to hit, so I was going to take care of it then.  We were a tough team and nobody was going to disrespect us.  That all being said, he’s a great player and I have a lot of respect for the guy.
5) How did you adjust after your horrific ankle injury, and do you think your thumb injury in Pittsburgh took away your ability to hit for power?
The ankle ended up being fine, but I may have lost a step or two.  But, tearing my thumb apart was definitely when I lost my power and had to change the way I hit.  That’s what the game is about: making adjustments.  Your hands are everything in this game.  I became more of a situational hitter and couldn’t grab the ball the way I used to.  It was 10 times worse for my baseball career than my ankle injury because every hit I took or ball I caught felt like someone stabbing a knife in my hand.
6) What was the biggest moment in your Oakland Athletics career?
Going to the post-season.
7) Since 1920 you have the most stolen bases by a catcher with 189. Can you talk a bit about your approach?
It’s not how fast you are, but knowing how to run the bases  Baserunning is a huge part of the game, even the slowest players can steal a base if they know how to and put in the work. It was part of my game and I took pride in doing it.
8) You come from an old school baseball background, so what was your impression of the run being scored as Alex Rodriguez cried like a little baby?
 Don’t get me started on him.