OAKLAND -- Billy Beane has never committed to a full-bore, all-in rebuild -- until now.Oakland's vice president of baseball operations said Sunday morning he's "absolutely, no doubt about it" devoted to the process, citing his confidence in ownership's pledge to build a new stadium. When doors open, the A's want
OAKLAND -- Billy Beane has never committed to a full-bore, all-in rebuild -- until now.
Oakland's vice president of baseball operations said Sunday morning he's "absolutely, no doubt about it" devoted to the process, citing his confidence in ownership's pledge to build a new stadium. When doors open, the A's want a good product in the park.
In his previous 19 seasons at the helm of baseball operations, Beane refused to use the "R" word because "it was always in the back of our mind that by the time we got to the point where we had rebuilt, we were going to have to start over again."
"But I will say this," Beane said. "I've had a lot of conversation with ownership. There's a real commitment to finding a stadium. That's just not lip service at this point."
Beane pointed to president Dave Kaval's staunch work since his November hire. Kaval's arrival immediately prompted a shift in momentum with regard to a new stadium following years of stagnancy that has kept the front office in limbo.
The A's, stuck in the deteriorating Coliseum, have been acting like a small-market team in a big market, saying no to high-priced free agents and subsequently leaving fans disheartened and without any players to become attached to longer than a few short years. Consequently, Oakland's attendance has suffered.
But Kaval's promise of announcing a new site by the end of the year has allowed the organization to begin planning for the future, with potential for more resources to be had than ever before. From the baseball side, Beane said, "There's one way to do it. It's gotta be organic."
Translation: Collect young players and hang on to them.
"I think really what's been missing here the last 20 years is keeping these players," Beane said. "The frustration isn't that we've had success, the frustration is that after the success, we haven't kept it, and that's just a fact. We need to change that narrative by virtue of creating a good team and then ultimately be committed to keeping them around so that people, when they buy a ticket, know that the team is going to be there for a few years."
Beane's proclamation came just hours after he completed his first deal ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, teaming up with frequent trade partner, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, for a pact that sent A's relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. Oakland received right-hander Blake Treinen and Minor Leaguers Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo in return.
A's fans can't be surprised by such happenings under Beane's watch around this time of year, particularly of late. Oakland is in the midst of a third consecutive losing season, prompting the discarding of veterans in favor of young players. Sonny Gray, Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie are next in line to go this month.
Beane wants to flip the script soon.
"This is my 20th year on the job," Beane said. "There are only so many cycles I can go through before I get as exasperated as everybody else. Finding players has never been an issue for us. Keeping them and ultimately keeping the faith and the commitment of the people who follow the team, that's gotta be done by keeping them around, and I've been assured by ownership that that's what we're going to do."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.