David Forst, Assistant General Manager for the Oakland Athletics, spent about 20 minutes fielding questions from A’s bloggers. Obviously there was much said about the trades and acquisitions of this off-season and many noted the marked lack of power in the lineup now that Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss are gone from the team.
David Forst said that the A’s organization is fully aware that their home run potential has taken a dip if you look at the 2014 numbers but was quick to acknowledge that “Coco’s hit 20, Reddick’s hit 30, Ike has hit 30, and we expect Billy’s power to increase too.” He also said, “home runs aside, this is not a team that we’re worried about slugging. This is not a station to station team.”
“Power is not as big a concern to us as some people make it out to be.” David Forst, 2015 Bloggerfest
While it may be a stretch to expect Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick to knock 50 over the fence this year, Forst makes a good point about the slugging and when that ability to get extra bases is combined with the speed that Crisp, Gentry, Reddick, and Lawrie can bring to the base path, we are looking at a team that has potential to manufacture runs, a glaring weakness the past three seasons, better than any A’s team in recent memory.
I have been a long standing critic of what I deem to be heavy-handed platooning and asked David Forst if the different areas of strength in 2015, compared to 2014, were an indication of a philosophical shift in how games were managed, looking for more small-ball play and less reliance on homers.
“We’ve made a point the last few years of saying ‘we’ll sort of adjust to our personnel’ and I think Bob [Melvin] has been great about that.”
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He continued by saying that Melvin was told when he joined in 2011 that there “was not one way to manage this organization,” but added that there are still plenty of options for match-ups and that the team is still, fundamentally, built for platooning.
While that was not the answer I wanted to hear, exactly, it was nice to hear that the perception that Billy Beane and David Forst construct teams to be managed a specific way and that Bob Melvin is instructed how to do that managing is just that, a perception.
The movie Moneyball did no favors for the public perception of how this team is run but in the comments made by David Forst in this conference it became evident that they are a lot more flexible that many fans believe. Forst assured us that nothing is set in stone and that Bob Melvin will adjust during spring training and the early months of the season to find the perfect balance for how to manage a team that looks extremely different than the one he left back in October.