The Padres host the Oakland A’s in a short two game series on Tuesday-Wednesday at Petco Park.
The series doesn’t really mean much. Neither team is in any type of wild card race.
Both teams seem to be in constant rebuild mode for years.
But it is an interesting matchup of philosphies, the free spending AJ Preller, trying to build the Padres, and the tight fisted-small money Billy Beane, the GM of the Athletics.
This is the 7th Anniversary of the wildly successful movie ‘Moneyball’, an off shoot of Michael Lewis’ famous book, written 15-years ago, of how new breed front offices would change the face of basefball, by how they scout, how they spend, whom they sign.
It worked for the Boston Red Sox. Almost worked in Oakland. In San Diego, we are waiting to see if it will work.
The Padres have loads of young talent coming, a few here today, hopefully more next year, but it might be another two seasons of losing before you can actually mention, ‘Padres-Pennant Contender’ in the same sentence.
It’s been such a long wait. In the last four years since Preller took over as GM, the Friars are (114) games below the .500-mark, dating to 2010.
It’s been 11-years since this team was in the postseason, and they’ve had jut 1-winning season in 10-years.
The Athletics, once owned by Charley Finley, and dotted by spectacular players like Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, Joe Rudi and Ricky Henderson, have been down for a long time too.
There are similarities to San Diego.. Constant ownership change, stadium problems, lots of different GMs, and small budgets.
The A’s, in constant rebuild mode, have finished first 6-times since 2000, but not much recently. But they’ve had 3-straight last place seasons, and enter this series with the Padres a combined 54-games under .500 in the last three years.
Beane has been the trigger man of this constant rebuild. Some view him as bright, some view him as eccentric. Some view him as a meddler.
What is amazing, and similar to San Diego, is the constant churn of the roster, trade after trade after trade of players, mostly pitchers. Some of it is money related, some of it is talent failure, some of it is gambling on talent.
Whereas Preller acquired talent, and then gave up on talent, need we remember Matt Kemp, the Uptons, James Shields and more, he has had more operating capital to work with, signing a boatload of talent from Cuba and the Dominican. Beane has been limited to drafting then dealing. .
In a stunning study of their rosters, the Athletics have moved 23-veteran pitchers off their major league rosters, who have gone on to success with other teams. They haven’t gotten fair value in most of their deals.
The giveaway of Tyson Ross to the Padres was the start of the exit of alot of recognizable names over a 7-year span..
Sonny Gray to the Yankees, Jesse Hahn shipped to Tampa Bay a year ago.
In 2016, Rich Hill became a Dodger, and relief ace Ryan Madsen was moved.
Before that, frontline starter Scott Kazmir, relief ace Ty Clippard, and starter Jesse Chavez.
In 2014, they dispatched closer Sean Doolittle, reliever Luke Gregorson and longtime starter Jeff Samardzija.
Among other veterans cut loose, still pitching, Brandon McCarthy, now in Atlanta, Brett Anderson with the Cubs, ex-Texas Ranger AJ McGriffin, relief aces Brad Ziegler and Andrew Bailey, front line starter Gio Gonzalez-still in Washington, and Dallas Braden.
There was an old time General Manager who couldn’t stop making trades. He did it in Chicago, with the White Sox, and Cleveland with the Indians. He almost became addicted to deals. In fact, he once traded his manager for another manager.
Frank ‘Trader’ Lane.
Billy Beane has become him. Lane didn’t win much. The A’s haven’t won much recently..
The Padres hope to win soon with Preller’s blueprint.
The matchup of ‘Moneyball’ begins Tuesday night, Beane-vs-Preller….Padres vs-A’s.