A's architect Beane takes on new role as senior advisor

November 19th, 2022

After leading the A’s baseball operations department for over three decades, Billy Beane is taking on a new position within the organization.

The A’s announced on Friday morning that Beane, currently Oakland’s executive vice president of baseball operations, is moving into a new role as senior advisor to owner John Fisher, working together closely on strategic decisions.

In addition to providing Fisher with guidance on broader organizational matters, Beane will still provide support for A’s general manager David Forst, who now takes over as head of the club’s baseball operations.

“This is really as much about not just me transitioning into a new role, but also David taking on a responsibility that he’s earned as one of the top executives in the game, in my opinion,” said Beane. “I’m still a member of the Athletics' family. I’m very grateful to John and the relationship that we’ve forged over the time since he’s taken over ownership. I’ll continue being a good advisor for him going forward.”

Beane, 60, has been involved with the A’s dating back to 1989, when he played his final MLB season with the club. Soon after retiring, Beane became an understudy to then-A’s general manager Sandy Alderson before taking the reins as GM himself in 1997. Rising to national fame following the publication of Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” in 2003, Beane consistently molded A’s clubs that routinely exceeded expectations. Since 2000, the A’s captured seven American League West titles and secured four AL Wild Card spots under Beane.

The transition also affords Beane, who has long spoken about his passion for soccer, the opportunity to explore non-baseball sports endeavors. Previously holding an ownership stake in English professional soccer club Barnsley FC, Beane currently has ownership interests with soccer clubs in Holland and France, a data analytics company and a professional cricket team in India.

“My expectation is that those platforms will continue to grow with some of the partners I’ve involved myself with,” Beane said. “I’ve had some interests that have grown over the last couple of years, and this will give me some freedom to also pursue some of those.”

During an end-of-season conference call last month, Beane expressed hope and optimism about the A’s finally coming to a resolution on their long-standing pursuit of a new ballpark by securing a deal to build at their preferred waterfront site in Oakland near Howard Terminal as opposed to a possible relocation to Las Vegas, which the club has also been exploring on the advice of Major League Baseball. Though Beane may not have specific plans to engage in that pursuit, he said he is available to Fisher and team president Dave Kaval, who have been spearheading the process, for any input on that front.

“If [John] felt like I could be of assistance with anything as it pertains to the A’s, I’m certainly here for him,” Beane said. “When I’m needed, I will certainly help where I can.”

As for the future of the A’s on the player personnel side, not much figures to change in terms of organizational philosophy.

In taking a step back from baseball operations, Beane is essentially making an official passing of the torch to Forst, who has been in place as GM since 2015 and will enter his 25th year working in the A’s front office. Fellow executives such as assistant GMs Billy Owens and Dan Feinstein have also remained entrenched in their roles with the club over that time. The only difference now is that instead of reporting to Beane, Forst will report directly to Fisher.

“I don’t know that things will be all that different other than it will be a little bit of a different voice,” said Forst. “If nothing else, it will raise up the voices of the people underneath me and Dan and Billy Owens and [assistant GM] Rob [Naberhaus]. It will be important for now to fill in the gap where I had Billy’s voice in my ear from one end. I’ll need to make sure I get a lot of input from everybody else on the other side.”

Having endured a grueling 102-loss season in 2022, Forst will continue working on constructing a roster that can take a step forward next year. An improved farm system that features several top prospects who are close to Major League-ready should help. Additions through trades and free agency could also be on the horizon as the Hot Stove begins to ramp up into the winter.

“We are having lots of conversations and are looking to add a number of players to the team,” Forst said. “I think we took some strides in our farm system in 2022 as far as development. We obviously know that we need to do better on the field in Oakland.”