One of the things that immediately ran through my mind when I heard the KCBS report about the A's announcing a move to Fremont after, "what the hell are they going to call themselves?" was, if the A's are going to get more revenue, it's going to be very, very interesting to see how Billy Beane adjusts to suddenly having resources.
Now, Beane has been able to give out some significant contracts in the past including Jermaine Dye, Arthur Rhodes, Eric Chavez and Esteban Loaiza. Looking at those names, you would think, wow, maybe it's better if Beane has a more restricted budget. Perhaps have constraints on a payroll makes Beane much more frugal and intelligent about the moves he makes? I mean, would Beane have still made the Mulder and Hudson deals which now look very, very good in hindsight (even the Hudson deal as Huddy hasn't nearly been the pitcher he was in Oakland)?
But I tend to believe that even some of those bigger gambles were only because Beane had the door shut for him on other angles. If you remember, there were other pitchers that Beane had missed out on to be the A's closer when Rhodes wound up being the default choice. Tom Gordon and Keith Foulke (ironic as the Sox declined to pick up the option on Foulke today) were Yankees and Red Sox pitchers, as the A's were outbid by both those goliaths for the services of those two pitchers. I'm not saying that Beane will be able to match the funds of the Yankees and Red Sox no matter how much money the real estate Lewis Wolff sells around Cisco Field. Remember both of those teams basically have their own television networks and it can't be understated how much revenue NESN and YES add to the bottom line. But the A's should at least be move competitive and could perhaps drive the price up for those bigger markets clubs if nothing more.
The Jermaine Dye was a calculated risk that the A's were going to be getting MVP-like performances out of Dye. Remember how Dye tore up MLB during the second half of the season that year? Beane felt like Dye would be able to get back to that production and he miscalculated. It took Dye longer to get back to that level and unfortunately, he did it once he left the green and gold.
Loaiza still could turn out to be a huge mistake. But I still contend that Loaiza was only intended to be a number four starter this year. He didn't put up the numbers until August, but he did turn his season around. I'm going to reserve judgment until I see what we get from Loaiza in 2007, when it will be more important that he provide better numbers and more consistency with Zito gone.
Any way, for years and years, Beane has had to be creative to wiggle around holes in the system. Holes that many believe are slowly closing (listen to that Michael Lewis interview again). It's going to take a while until Beane will probably have the freedom to be an aggressive spender, but I look forward to the day he has that opportunity. It's going to be fascinating to watch the guy whose relative biography was titled Moneyball to finally actually have that green stuff to throw around a little more liberally. And remember, in a division where the three other teams have a significant amount of money to spend, it's going to be more and more important to have the weapons to compete.
And finally, it will be nice once Nick Swisher's contract is up to be able to sign him to something long-term rather than watch him shave off his handlebar mustache and pose for a "Washington Crossing the Delaware" type photo coming out of the dugout at Yankee Stadium. I'm really freaking tired of that scene.