MLB: Oakland Athletics Extend Contract of General Manager Billy Beane

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MLB: Oakland Athletics Extend Contract of General Manager Billy Beane
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Circle your calendars, A’s fans. Playoffs in 2020.

In extending the contracts of General Manager Billy Beane and President Michael Crowley, the Oakland Athletics have opted to continue their rebuilding process for the remainder of this decade.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, A’s owner Lew Wolff announced today that the team has agreed to terms with both Beane and Crowley—each are minority team owners—to remain with the team through 2019. Beane has been Oakland’s GM since 1997; Crowley joined the organization one year later.

Both Beane and Crowley are obviously firmly entrenched in the construction and direction of the organization, so it comes as no surprise that Wolff has secured them for several more years to come.

A’s fans may do a double-take at the length of the extensions. However, Wolff staunchly supports the work of both men, affirming, “…if they are here another 30 years, that is fine with me.”

Clearly, the front office has built a solid rapport together, and their shared vision of moving the team to San Jose plays a prominent role in keeping them for so long.

Still, devotion and collaborated interests has seemingly superseded the team’s competitive goals. Especially since the team is perceived by many to be taking a dive in its upcoming 2012 campaign.

The Athletics have not had a winning season since 2006, and their actions this winter have demonstrated an intense focus on finding a new stadium instead of employing a contending team.

Behind the personnel decision-making of Beane, Oakland has gouged its roster time and time again, unwilling to retain its star players and unable to attract formidable free agents. Through the tunnel vision of Wolff, Beane, et al., the A’s are sacrificing at best modest success in order to relocate to more prosperous housing.

This forward-thinking far-sightedness has divided a fan base—loyalists who encourage attempted winning in a dilapidation oppose those who seek long-term success in a more fiscally sound environment. Naturally, the business side out-manages the romantic allegiance.

From their fans’ collective point of view, however, it’s hard to understand the justification for keeping Beane and Crowley on board—for so long.

Given the upheaval of the roster, it’s likely the A’s will remain abominably uncompetitive, languishing at the bottom of the cellar for several more years. In fact, ESPN.com’s Christina Kahrl suggests that the Athletics will surely lose 100 games this season, a hapless feat not achieved in Oakland since 1979.

How can a team nearly assured of a handful of apathetic next few years stand behind an architect in Beane, who is now taking measurements with his thumb in the air and one squinted eye rather than a protractor and compass? This is the engineer that will take the team to the promised land? A general manager (and president) whose ambition is to intentionally stop caring about winning?

Given the lackluster effort to vie for success, it’s incredibly ironic that Beane is replanted as the A’s GM.

The fact that the Oscar-nominated film Moneyball is glowingly glorified for its portrayal of Beane’s over achievements a short 10 years ago makes it a stark juxtaposition to see Beane awarded stable employment for giving up.

It’s a thumb in the noses of Oakland fans that the team has stopped aspiring to defy the odds, instead choosing to remain on an even plateau at the nadir of the AL West. No longer long shots to contend for the playoffs, the Athletics have no shot to hold the interests of their fans.

Meanwhile, the core of the A’s front office remains intact. Congratulations.


Follow me on Twitter: @nathanieljue

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