Athletics

Athletics

The term "Moneyball" gets thrown around all too often, while constantly being misconstrued.

Billy Beane, the A's executive vice president of baseball operations, believes it means many things. It certainly has to do with objective analysis in making decisions -- famously for the A's this would mean sabermetrics. The term highlights finding inefficiencies and exploiting them, and can even have to do with a team's culture. 

What Beane wants to make clear is "Moneyball" does not simply mean making cheap decisions to save money

"It has a lot of different meanings," Beane said on the "Blood Red podcast." "The assumption when that term is used is that you are always looking to spend as little as possible, which actually couldn’t be further from the truth.

"Some business decisions -- or sporting decisions -- cost a lot, but they are worth far more than you put into them. For example: Michael Jordan. Whatever he was paid by the Chicago Bulls, he was worth exponentially more.

"We are ultimately trying to find undervalued assets and hope that the player value would continue to increase. The challenge in Oakland is that there were a lot of good decisions that cost a lot of money that we were not allowed to make."

The term was coined by author Michael Lewis in his famous book, "Moneyball," which chronicled Beane's methods with the A's in the 2002 season and then was made into a major motion picture. Beane and Oakland's front office have been criticized in the past, however, on choices that could be seen as "cheap." 

 

A's fans far too often have seen star players go to other teams either in free agency or via trades because they were deemed too expensive for Oakland. Beane says there's a reason for every decision, though, and that their method always has been "less risky." 

"For us in Oakland, when we first started we didn't necessarily see it as courage," Beane said. "We thought it was a more rational way of making decisions. And in fact, since we were doing it with information, we thought it was actually a less risky way to make decisions.

"We thought it was less risky using data and information to help you be more predictive with your decisions."

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Beane and general manager David Forst will have some big decisions to make payroll wise in the near future. Shortstop Marcus Semien is a free agent after the season, and stars like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson will need extensions sooner than later. 

How much "risk" will Beane and the A's take? Will they finally shell out some big contracts? Only time will tell, but the man himself wants the "cheap" image out of your heads.