I was explaining to a pal the other (who probably couldn’t wait for me to shut up) that the supposed ethos of A’s GM Billy Beane was less about a dogmatic fervor for high OBP, guys who love to walk (and hate bunting, stealing or catching the ball), etc. and had more to do with exploiting obvious inequities in the marketplace. If there’s a bunch of high OBP, selective hitters who can be drafted or signed on the cheap, all the better. But as MLB’s front offices become filled with former Beane protoges and acolytes, baseball’s highest ranking Ramones fan has to stay ahead of the curve. The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser suggests the ties that bind Beane’s latest acquisitions are less about statistical trends and have more to do the bridges they’ve burned. (link taken from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
All three of the A’s big offseason acquisitions — Frank Thomas, Milton Bradley and Esteban Loaiza — have had mixed reputations at certain points of their careers, and two of the team’s most recent pickups have checkered pasts. Pitcher Juan Dominguez (above), acquired from the Rangers in the deal that sent Freddie Bynum to the Cubs, had several off-field issues while in Texas, where he was not well liked. (One club employee called Dominguez “the worst person I’ve ever met in baseball.”) And Kazuhito Tadano, picked up from Cleveland for Class-A outfielder Ramon Alvarado this week, has pitched in 15 big-league games, but he’s best known for apologizing two years ago for appearing in a gay porn video while he was in college in Japan.
A’s assistant GM David Forst emphasized that off-the-field issues aren’t something the team is actively seeking out, but, he added, “These are guys who have had success, they’ve performed well — (off-field problems) may be the reason their former teams are willing to part with them. For whatever reason, these guys were available and now they have got a fresh start.”
Reputation might be a poor way to judge a player’s worth, anyway. Thomas, Bradley and Loaiza all have fit in well in the A’s clubhouse and have presented no problems.
Bradley pointed out Friday that a bad reputation can stem simply from a poor relationship with the media or an incident that gets exaggerated, “but whatever is out there, it’s going to be out there,” he said. “If there’s anything negative, all you’re going to get (from the media) is negative.”
Late HR’s from Michael Barrett and Derek Lee (above) led the Cubs to a come from behind, 3-2 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley earlier today. Actor John Cusack stopped by the Comcast booth for the home half of the 7th inning, and I thought Len Kasper showed considerable class in not mentioning the cancellation of “Love Monkey”. No point kicking a guy when he’s down.