October 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detail view of baseballs with the postseason logo before game one of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated Athletics 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Ok, that’s a lot to take in. Were there some obvious missteps? Of course. The Carlos Gonzalez deal, along with trading Addison Russell and Tyson Ross are the biggest regrets, but keep in mind, this covers a ten-year span. The fact that the A’s are still seeing returns on trading Mark Mulder, and subsequently Dan Haren, is remarkable.
Of course, people will point to the Lester deal and say that Billy Beane has lost his touch. I see a GM that took a look at the landscape of baseball and decided this was his year. Was it the right move? In theory, yes. With a healthy squad, do the A’s collapse as much as they did? Probably not. Would they have won the division either way? Nope. The A’s had tried that same relative team in the playoffs the past two seasons. Why would it work this time? A change had to be made.
That trade was for the Wild Card game. Again, a healthy team likely wins that game, and the A’s could feasibly have made it to the World Series. There is one thing you can’t predict in baseball, and that’s injuries. Case in point: Pomeranz punched a chair. That act could have led to all of the trades that followed.
What Billy Beane has been able to do, constructing a contender seemingly every season on the budget he has, is quite astounding. The A’s haven’t seen a 100+ loss team like they have in Houston (three times in four years). Billy always finds a way. He may make us scratch our heads now and again, but there is no other GM I’d rather have building our team, year after year.