The initial market inefficiency identified by the Sabers was the low relative price of OBP in the marketplace. That combined with the 1000's of regressions showing that high OBP was highly correlated with winning led to a team philosophy that valued patience. This worked great when we had a mix of patience and power. But, now all we seem to have is patience and no power. Can a high OBP team score with low SLG? I say no.
One of the themes of the early 2000's A's was 2 walks and a 3-run HR. That was because we had power, walked a lot, and couldn't advance the runners much since we didn't play "smallball". Now, we have a team that still gets on OBP fine (long-term averages, not just 2005), but has absolutely no power. So, we walk a lot, but can't score our runners with simple singles. This leads to a very low RISP. It also leads to me losing significant portions of my hair watching the A's leave 12 RISP every dang night. You can't walk a runner in unless the bases are loaded. If we are to keep a high obp philosophy on this team, we need to compliment it with either more power or more speed. We don't have much speed in the minors because we haven't really cared about it for eight years, but we do have some power.
So, the answer that is so painfully obvious is to promote some of the power. Since most of the power plays in positions where we have OBP players, we need to find a balance. We can't simply replace all of our high OBP guys with pure power guys because it's all about the combination of the two (not neccessarily in the same player). The answer is even more obvious when you consider the two players most ready to help could step in and fill the power void (Johson at 1B and Watson in LF with Byrnes as the 4th outfielder he was meant to be).
Will it happen now? Probably not, but I hope that last year and this year will show Billy that his formula for winning needs tweaking. This team is not fun to watch (walk, GIDP, walk, K). Even the loser teams of the mid-90's were at least fun with some power guys and a ton of young players who were learning the game.
THE ANSWER: BILLY, WE NEED MORE POWER EVEN AT THE COST OF YOUR PRECIOUS HIGH OBP BUDDIES. LET HATTEBERG START HIS CAREER AS A BENCH COACH NOW.