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The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

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Or at least in the A's case, the pen is the tool to Seppuku. The pen, of late, has lead to some unfavorable results under Billy Beane's watch.

Beane, in recent years, has used free agent dollars on Mark Redman, Arthur Rhodes, Esteban Loaiza, an extension for Jermaine Dye, Keiichi Yabu and Frank Thomas. It makes you wonder if the pen to ink these deals has a curse on it.

Redman was a wash out, Rhodes became clubhouse cancer numero uno, Dye was unbelievable until that fateful pitch from Orlando Hernandez and Loaiza suddenly lost all velocity and any semblance of confidence to go with it. When people look to jump all over Beane, it's usually trying to find the few trades where they feel he got swindled. But the reality is that the front office has struggled to make a good free agent signing in years. The best one they probably had was the extension for Eric Chavez (if you could even count that and if you did then you might also count all the extensions to the younger guys like Harden, Haren, Swisher, etc.).

I'm not sure whether it's because signing free agents is something the franchise hasn't had to do a whole lot in the past or what. So perhaps the team hasn't perfected the process. Although many would say that it's probably very similar to making a trade for a certain player. You go out and do evaluations on the guy before bringing him in. But perhaps it's just something the A's haven't got down yet like they do judging players from a far and acquiring them midseason.

Chances are good that Frank Thomas will eventually prove to be a very good signing by the time this season ends at a minimal cost. Loaiza might eventually do the same if he ever gets his arm strength back. But in the meantime, the record is not good. He does have a few good signings, Scott Hatteberg comes to mind. But this wasn't a deal that created a buzz like Frank Thomas or even Arthur Rhodes (not necessarily for the right reasons either with Rhodes).

Someone get Billy a new pen. At least before November.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Has the free agency market been as unkind as I think or am I being unfair?