A group weblog for Oakland A's fans

Friday, January 21, 2005

Macha extension?

Word on the street is that the A's are discussing a three-year extension for manager Ken Macha, who is in the last year of his deal.

I've been pretty outspoken about this, so I don't think I need to reiterate: I think Macha is a bad manager. There are worse managers, but we could easily do better. Some specific beefs: he's oversensitive to RLRL in the lineup, he is way too big a fan of the intentional walk, and he leaves his starters in too long (from an effectiveness standpoint, not a pitcher abuse standpoint.) He also has no personality, which can't help in the clubhouse; not that clubhouse chemistry is important, but I at least know that I play (anything) a lot better when I'm excited, and Macha has to be the most un-exciting manager of all time, at least judging from his interviews. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a contributor to last year's underperformances (notably by the bullpen and on defense.)

What do you think? Is Macha a good manager?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

This is Awesome

Apparently the rumors about Byrnes have been greatly exaggerated. At Oakland Athletics.com Billy Beane said:

"Let me make this clear, whenever you see something about us that says a 'team source' said something, you can safely assume that it's a bald-faced lie. There are no 'team sources' here. There's me and there's David [Forst, Beane's assistant GM], and that's it. And we don't talk about what we might or might not be working on."

"All of what you're seeing is irresponsible journalism. It's a discredit to the profession, to be honest with you. There's good reporters and bad reporters, and this kind of thing makes them all look bad."

Keep fighting the bogosity, Billy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The $22 Million Rocket

In today's SJ Mercury News is a story about arbitration and who has signed and the figures exchanged by the 40 players going to arbitration. The biggest difference between the players request and the teams offer belongs to Roger Clemens. Roger Clemens wants $22 million and the team has offered $13.5 million. At first glance I thought that was quite a bit of money to ask for, but then reading on it said that Clemens agreed to $5 million last year, of which $3.5 M was defered until 2006. He also made $1.825 M in bonuses.

I believe the A's are the most cost concious team in baseball. They demand quality for their money, which is why their wins/dollar ratio is untouchable by the rest of the league over the last 5 years. The A's try to bring in young undervalued players. In baseball's system, which I have no quarrel with, good players make more money than bad players, and players who have been in the league longer make more than newer major leaguers. Based on that, a 42 year old who won the Cy Young last year should make a lot. No matter how you slice it, Roger Clemens went for less than the going rate for the quality he brought to the Astros last year. He should be compensated this year at least in part based on what he did last year. I don't know if the arbitrators look at last year's pay vs. stats to decide what this year's pay should be, but they should. I am taking the paradoxical view that the A's can be great with a moderate payroll and Roger Clemens should get all of the $22 million he is seeking. His value is very high. He seems to be in pretty good shape based on the 97 mph fastball I saw him throw in the NLCS. Age ought to catch up to him pretty soon, but would gamble he has one more good year in that arm.

This undervalued/overvalued theory on players can be stretched too far though. Eric Byrnes is going to play baseball for some major league team this year at a pay of $2 to $2.5 million. Given he had a career year last year, this year an astute observer could make the claim that he is due for a drop. Many teams seem to covet Byrnes right now, but that DOESN'T MEAN HE SHOULD BE TRADED. Even if he is overvalued, if there is no player who can fill his role as well for cheaper, he should be kept at least one more year. Now if we can get Mark Texeira or Miguel Cabrera or any other great cheap outfielder in trade or get another team to give us cash and a good player for Byrnes, let's go for it. I just can't agree with the idea of trading him for AAA prospects. Those guys sometimes pan out, sometimes they flop. Byrnes has proven at least to me that he is a legit major league outfielder and his pay is in line with the kind of numbers the A's can afford to keep.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dotel, Kielty avoid arbitration

According to the A's website, Octavio Dotel and Bobby Kielty have agreed to contracts for 2005, leaving Byrnes and Cruz as the only arbitration cases left. No financial terms in the story, and there's no mention of this yet on the usual websites (espn.com, etc..)

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