With the American League Champions in first place in the AL West and the Los Angeles Angels just three games behind the Rangers, it looks like Oakland might have to wait at least one more year more for a playoff run.
The A's are 14.5 games behind in their division, and the wild card isn't an easy ride with even the mediocre Toronto Blue Jays ahead by a couple of games.
Basically, Billy Beane and his team aren't going to make the postseason this year.
That brings us to a new topic: What can Beane do now?
His money-ball ways have gone wrong this year, with some harsh comments from fans going so far as saying to get rid of one the smartest men in baseball. Well, you can't really blame some of them. After all, the last time the A's had a winning season was back in 2006. Even then, they were swept in the ALCS.
And whenever there seems to be positive reviews about Oakland in Spring Training, it turns out worse than expected. For example, before the start of the 2009 season, the team was compared to the 2006 roster and had slugger Matt Holliday, with writers saying the A's actually had a good shot at winning it all. The result: They finished last in the division.
Fast forward to the start of the 2011 season. They had strengthened their pen, with veterans Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes. There were also the additions of solid hitter Hideki Matsui and other somewhat good players in Josh Willingham and David DeJesus.
With an average offense, one of the best pitching staffs in Major League Baseball, and Beane in charge, anything could be possible. But bad news just kept on coming like the years before: DeJesus in under-performing, hitting .233. Fuentes has a 4.18 ERA out of the bullpen.
But there are more positives than negatives with the club, such as Josh Willingham having one of his better years, already having blasted 19 home runs. Closer Andrew Bailey is back, and the A's still have the two core guys of the rotation in Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez.
Outfielder Coco Crisp has found his groove coming off an injury-filled year, stealing bases and hitting for average, while Matsui is performing at the level everyone expected. Surrounded by more solid players and rising rookies such as Jemile Weeks, Oakland doesn't look bad on paper.
It looks fantastic.
So you can't blame Billy Beane. He did his best to prepare a team this year. Am I saying anyone that tries their best should stay at being a GM? No, it's a tough business out there in baseball. But you can't just put any baseball-related guy as GM in a small market like Oakland, where not many fans are showing up, and do what Beane has done.
Do not criticize him: Ones that curse him are spoiled to have such a smart man in Beane.
Blaming him for keeping a veteran like Willingham when he had trade value? Yeah, sure, there could have been a decent prospect or two for him in return, but won't an experienced player like him help the youngsters in the clubhouse?
Beane's way of using sabermetrics is the best thing they could do as of right now. He can't accomplish anything more unless you want to wait another 15 years for them to win which is the normal, not-very-sufficient route.
To basically explain why Beane should stay to those still not understanding how lucky they are, let me ask a question.
Who would you hire to replace him?
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