MLB Rumors: 5 Reasons Why Oakland A's GM Billy Beane Might Sign with Cubs
Beane, a 49-year-old baseball man who pioneered utilizing sabermetric principles to get undervalued players about 10 years ago, might find the Cubs as an interesting destination, as general manager Jim Hendry was axed and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts went to San Francisco to presumably talk to the innovative Beane last August.
Despite having three years left on his contract, the Moneyball subject might have five very good reasons to leave Oakland for Clark and Addison.
Cubs Have More Money Than A's
One of the difficulties Beane faced with the Oakland A's was having a low payroll.
That sub par payroll cost him Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen and Johnny Damon after the 2001 season and resulted in him using the sabermetric approach that Moneyball focuses on. The next season, his A's won 103 games and the American League West while on a $41 million payroll.
He led Oakland to four AL West titles and a Wild Card berth, but only reached the American League Championship Series once.
Since 2006, Beane hasn't made the playoffs, and a good portion of that is Oakland not having the money to attract big free agents as 12 teams have payrolls over $100 million while his A's are at $54.5 million. David DeJesus was the A's highest paid player with $6 million.
The Cubs had a payroll over $125 million this year, so Beane will have more flexibility to get a big player if he wants one.
Ricketts Focusing on Wiser Spending, Player Development
While the Cubs have more money to throw around than the A's, Ricketts said he wants smarter spending of that money by focusing on player development.
If Beane takes the job, he has the responsibility of cutting some of the fat off Chicago's payroll in order to get more efficient free agents while making room for younger talent.
Carlos Zambrano is rumored to possibly go to the Florida Marlins because new manager Ozzie Guillen likes him. Beane should make that happen, which would trim over $18 million in payroll.
The Cubs can also cut ties with Carlos Pena who is a free agent this season, and Aramis Ramirez, who has a $2 million buyout on his contract. The Cubs might also find a suitor for Alfonso Soriano if Beane pays a third to half of the $54 million owed to him the next three years.
Freeing the payroll would give the Cubs flexibility to possibly sign Prince Fielder, Grady Sizemore and Mark Buehrle to begin rebuilding in Chicago.
Beane also had an extremely good farm system in Oakland. With Chicago's new focus on player development, Beane would be the ideal candidate for the job.
Cubs Have a Better Stadium Than Oakland
According to a MLB.com interview, Billy Beane said the Oakland Coliseum affects the Athletics' pursuit of top free agents.
Beane and the Oakland Athletics are trying to move to San Jose, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Moving to a larger market like San Jose would greatly increase the A's' payroll.
However, MLB commissioner Bud Selig might not let Oakland move if the San Francisco Giants, who have territorial rights to the area, veto the move.
If this move doesn't happen, Beane might decide to go to Wrigley Field, a baseball-oriented facility.
With a smaller payroll, Beane could help invest a projected $400 million in a project to modernize Wrigley Field, which the team unveiled last year. The renovations include an improved clubhouse and a state-of-the-art batting cage area. The face lift could make Wrigley an even more desirable destination for top free agents.
Cubs Are Underdogs Like the A's
Partly why Beane declined the Boston Red Sox's lucrative contract offer after the 2002 season, besides staying close to his daughter, was he wanted to stay with the underdog A's and win a championship there.
''This is the right decision for me,'' Beane said in an Associate Press interview at the time. ''I belong here. I am proud of this franchise. I love Oakland. I love the people here.''
Well, if Oakland is an underdog to Billy Beane, what are the Chicago Cubs?
They have underachieved for three straight seasons and have been swept in the first round of the playoffs their last two times (2007 and 2008). That's not even mentioning not winning a World Series for a record 103 years.
Billy Beane Will Be Remembered Forever If He Wins a World Series
The one thing that Billy Beane wants in his professional career is to be remembered in baseball history forever. That's why he allowed Michael Lewis to write Moneyball. While his sabermatics changed baseball, he still hasn't won a World Series.
A sure way to be remembered is to win a World Series with the Cubs.
Already, Kenny Williams broke the Chicago White Sox 88-year drought and Theo Epstein the Red Sox 86-year drought.
Now, the Cubs are the remaining big challenge.
If Beane would break the longest title-less drought in professional sports history, he can be assured going down as one of the most memorable general managers in MLB history.