Athletics

Beane: 'I never regretted' spurning Red Sox, staying with A's

Beane: 'I never regretted' spurning Red Sox, staying with A's

Programming note: A’s-Rangers coverage starts today at 4 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App (Channel locations)

It's been 15 years since Billy Beane made a decision that shocked the baseball world and altered the course for two franchise.

In 2002, with the Red Sox trying to lure Beane away from the A's, the GM turned down a five-year, $12.5 million deal to stay in Oakland.

Since then, Boston has won three World Series titles while the A's have five division titles, but no World Series appearances.

So does Beane, now the executive vice president of baseball operations, have any regrets about the decision he made in the winter of 2002?

“It turned out pretty well for the Red Sox and I have had a great run here and have enjoyed it here a great deal. We’ve had our challenges, mostly stadium related, but we’ve had our successes and failures, but I never regretted the decision I made," Beane told The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.

Beane went on to explain that part of decision to stay in Oakland was to remain close to his then-teenage daughter.

“I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. Looking back, I knew what I was turning down. I had known John [Henry] even before that meeting and thought the world of him and Tom [Werner]. Look at what happened. Turning it down meant that Theo Epstein was in charge. And we know the rest of the story. I knew that the Red Sox, with John and Tom and Larry [Lucchino] were the best. They had built the best organization in the game and they had this bright young man in Theo who had great ideas of how to build a baseball organization. So no regrets. I got to build our organization with the help of some great people, and foremost for me, I got to watch my daughter grow up. She’s 27 now, but I was there and I didn’t miss a thing,” Beane said.

In October of 2015, after 18 seasons as the general manager of the A's, he turned the reigns over to David Forst and assumed his current role.

 

Here are three questions facing A's as 2019 season opens Vs. Mariners

Here are three questions facing A's as 2019 season opens Vs. Mariners

The A's and Mariners are officially just hours away from opening the MLB season in Japan. For those die-hard fans (and insomniacs) who plan to stay up all night to watch the game, here are four questions to keep an eye on:

Who bats third?

Jed Lowrie's departure leaves a huge hole in the middle of the A's lineup. Oakland has a few candidates to fill that void, including newly-acquired second baseman Jurickson Profar. However, Stephen Piscotty and Matt Olson are probably the best options at this point.

With the A's facing left-hander Marco Gonzales in the season opener, expect to see the right-handed hitting Piscotty batting third. If he performs well, it could be his job to lose, though Olson figures to get some opportunities against right-handed pitchers, at least early in the year.

Who starts at catcher?

The A's also lost their starting catcher from last season as Jonathan Lucroy signed with the rival Angels. With Chris Herrmann injured, the starting job will go to either Nick Hundley or Josh Phegley, both of whom performed well in spring training.

Hundley figures to have the edge to start the season due to his better offensive numbers over the years. The 35-year-old has a career OPS of .706, compared to Phegley's .635.

Is Mike Fiers ready to be a number one starter?  

Fiers gets the honor of starting on Opening Day. The 33-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, going 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA between Detroit and Oakland in 2018. He was rewarded with a two-year, $14.1 million contract this offseason.

Throughout his career, Fiers has primarily been a fourth or fifth starter. This year he finally has his chance to be an ace. The right-hander certainly has the right mindset to handle any added pressure, but the A's would like to see him get off to a good start.

A's players talk crushing sushi, baseballs in Japan for Opening Series

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USATSI

A's players talk crushing sushi, baseballs in Japan for Opening Series

What does a professional baseball team do when traveling to Japan?

It’s pretty simple for the Oakland A's, who are currently there to open up the 2019 regular season against the Seattle Mariners on March 20 and 21.

-Eat sushi
-Play baseball
-Eat more sushi

The A’s have already played two exhibition games against teams from Japan, and the Japanese crowds are loving the Green and Gold.

A “Let’s go Oakland!” chant even broke out in the middle of a game.

If you feel so inclined to cheer on the A's during their two regular season games in Japan, there will be a watch party (not so) bright and early for first pitch at 2:35 a.m. PT