Billy's been talking to the media lately. It always sounds better when Billy talks, because he's better at, shall we say, "nuancing the truth" than Lew Wolff. But I thought there were a couple of interesting tidbits that, if they turn out to not be falsehood and misdirection, give some insight into how Billy will try and build the 2011 A's.
This is what a lot of people have been talking about. The big takeaway from this article for me was Beane's thoughts on the health of his players. Of course, everyone on AN, and probably every A's fan who followed the team for more than two days, agrees with his assessment on this. The question is, has Billy finally become so fed up with this that he's willing to actually do something about it and overhaul his medical and training staff?
Another area of the article, which to me can only be read pessimistically, was this: "That being said, [offense] is an area we're going to be looking at, but somewhat more strategically than just looking at someone's power numbers. Ultimately, we'd like to get as many multitalented players as possible, and that includes the other side of the diamond -- defense and running the bases as well, because we were a very good baserunning team this year." Once again, this is pretty much confirmation that Billy's not going to go out and look for a big-bat power hitter. He's much more likely to look for another Coco. Now don't get me wrong: I love base stealing, but I love it the way I love the Die Hard movies. I know it's not that important or good, but I like it because it's fun. The O.G. stat-oriented general manager shouldn't be looking to grab a couple more speedsters; we don't need Juan Pierre or whatever. We need, at the very least, another Jack Cust or another Daric Barton (preferable another Daric Barton, because defense.)
Billy says it again a bit later: "I would suspect there are some players that a lot of teams would have interest in. But as far as our interest in individual players, looking at the overall makeup of the team from this point going forward, what we can conceivably have in terms of budget will obviously be considered." Translated: Sorry, we're just a sad old professional sports team, just a potentially billion-dollar business run by billionairres. There's just no way we could spend enough money to compete with all those big bad Yankees and Phillies out there.
Where does this phrase come from: "to come out and win 18 games with a sub-three ERA and lead the league in opponents batting average"...Apparently Billy Beane cares about W-L record, ERA, and BA now. But the really important stuff, to me, were these two things. First: "When approached about the long-term plan for Chris Carter, Beane said "I think it's our intention" to keep him in the outfield." That's great, that's the only place he fits because..."Daric Barton has solidified himself at first, and I think Chris is a good enough athlete to make the transition. He really just went out there a couple weeks before he came up, so I think we need to give him some time. He does have power. So getting back to Daric, he showed himself to be, in my opinion, the best first baseman in the league. He's also made significant strides offensively. I was quite pleased with what he did there this year, and I have no intention of taking him off first base." Yes! Finally an actual, explicit acknowledgement that the front office is please with Daric Barton and is going to leave him where he belongs.