As featured in the hit movie Moneyball, Athletics general manager Billy Beane doesn’t like winning in conventional ways. In fact, he can’t win in conventional ways because he doesn’t have the cash flow to do so. He has to spend money on players wisely and evaluate talent almost flawlessly. That was until this season. With his Athletics seemingly on the cusp, he first traded the team’s top two prospects for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Now, he has traded one of his best hitters in Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Jonny Gomes and ace Jon Lester.
In what is likely to be the biggest trade on July 31, the Oakland Athletics made it known that they want to win the World Series this season and will accept nothing less. The story, which was first reported by CBS Sports, has already sent shock waves throughout the baseball landscape. Cespedes, the two-time defending home run champion, is just coming into his own in the major leagues with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs this season. Evidently, the A’s felt they needed a dominant pitching staff to win a World Series this season and now that’s exactly what they have.
With a top four of Sonny Gray, Lester, Samardzija and Hammel, Oakland is going to be a tough out in the postseason. That’s where Beane’s difference in philosophy has kicked in. He has been spending wisely in order to reach the postseason but not necessarily win in the postseason. That has caused his teams to underachieve in the playoffs several times, but he seems set on putting a stop to that this season.
Oakland now has a rotation that can match up with anyone in baseball and should be the favorite in any postseason series they’re involved in. Even though they lost Cespedes, who should flourish in hitter-friendly Fenway Park, they have one of the top lineups in baseball. Unlike he’s done for the past decade, Beane is now throwing caution to the wind as he tries to claim a World Series title. He’s not building to win the championship in a couple years. He wants a championship.
And he wants it now.