[EDITOR'S NOTE] - Billy Beane will apparently be with us for quite some time. In a first, glorious move showing his commitment to keeping the Oakland Athletics current regime in place, Lewis Wolff endeared himself to the Oakland fanbase by signing Beane long-term. And no, this isn't an April Fool's joke. I even went through the Times front page just to make sure. It's a great day to be an A's fan. Congrats, Billy, you've certainly earned it. - Blez
I haven't found anything about this anywhere else yet but look what the LA Times is reporting!Lew Wolff leads the investment group that bought the Oakland Athletics for $180 million this week, but the new ownership has no intention of imitating its American League West rival in Anaheim. Instead, it has invested in General Manager Billy Beane, so heavily that some of the money Beane spends now will be his own.
The A's are expected to announce today that Beane has agreed to a contract extension through 2012 and has been granted a share of ownership, a distinction without recent precedent among major league general managers.
By the end of this season, Wolff said, he hopes to secure agreement on the site and a financing plan for a new ballpark in Oakland.
"We're not buying the team to move it," Wolff said.
Wolff, 69, a prominent Los Angeles real estate investor and developer whose companies focus on luxury hotels, is the A's new managing partner. The majority investor is John Fisher, son of Gap founder Donald Fisher. Forbes lists John Fisher's net worth at $1.5 billion -- and Moreno's at $850 million.
That the A's now boast one of baseball's wealthiest ownership groups apparently will have little impact on their moderate payroll, at least until a new ballpark can bring in the bucks. Under Beane, the A's have made four playoff appearances in the last five years, winning more games in that span than any team except the New York Yankees.
"Do we pay $100 million for a player or do we extend Billy's contract?" Wolff said. "We think, if the past is prologue, we're very comfortable. We think we've made the right decision in getting Billy to stay with us long-term, just like you'd like to have a player finish his career with you."
Few stars finish their careers in Oakland. The A's signed third baseman Eric Chavez to a six-year, $66-million contract last spring, but budget-driven departures in recent years have included those of shortstop Miguel Tejada, outfielder Johnny Damon, first baseman Jason Giambi and pitchers Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Keith Foulke.
One Oakland fan website sells "In Beane We Trust" T-shirts, but might fans not prefer that popular players finish their careers with the team, not just the general manager?