In the Moneyball era, the A's were considered big on OBP and college players, because they were undervalued by other teams.
Eventually other teams caught on and they changed tack. So then came the big defense and high school pitchers era, because they were things considered undervalued by other teams.
Eventually other teams caught on and again the A's changed tack - but where can one find value in a market already aware of what you're trying to pull off?
Injuries, that's where.
Last year and this, the A's went after players with sketchy injury histories (Thomas, Snelling, Bradley, Stewart) to go along with the injury prone guys they already had (Crosby, Kotsay, Harden), and even drafted a bunch of guys coming off Tommy John surgery, because other teams were avoiding talented (but injury prone) players.
Now, with 11 people currently on the DL, is it perhaps time to say that the latest Billy Beane attempt at Moneyballing a sector of the market has been a failure?
Are we discovering with nigh-permanently injured guys like Harden, Kotsay, Bradley, Piazza, Crosby, Snelling, etc etc, and oft-day-to-day guys like Chavez, Duchscherer and Swisher, that there actually is such a thing as an 'injury prone' stat?
Are we just unlucky, or is this a problem of our own making, and one that we should start trying to reverse by making trades?
UPDATE: Lots of great points made below, but one that isn't talked of much is the drafting of injury prone players - we grabbed a TON of players in the last draft that other teams shied away from because of injuries - big injuries - TJ and the like - and a lot of those guys have had trouble getting back onto the field (or staying there).
There seems to be pretty much agreement that Beane is finding value in the recently injured market, but the big question is, can that tactic stick? Will having lots of injured good players, and relying on the few healthy (and injury prone, and thus cheap) guys currently in between DL stints end up being a strategy that we can maintain?
Do we want to? Does the current crop serve as a warning that when the Cahill's and Lee's and Italiano's and Lansford's get to the majors, that the situation will continue?