Dear Giants and A’s: Thanks, it’s been fun

| October 8, 2012

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably already figured out that I’m not covering the Giants and A’s anymore.

As of a couple weeks ago, I’m working for the Orange County Register. And as of today, I’m covering the Angels. I had a little cameo on the Dodgers last week.

So, what’s that mean for this blog? Well, I’d say it’s now dead, but it was pretty dead already. I really hadn’t been posting much of anything for a while because, when I was working for the Giants and A’s magazines, I didn’t think it would have been a good idea for me to be giving too many opinions about those teams. Now I can give all the opinions I want on them, but I’m probably not going to have many, since I’ll be focusing so much on the Angels.

I will keep it here, though, because, well, you never know.

In the meantime, I hope that you keep following me, just to keep an eye on the competition down South. If not, thanks for following.

Jerry Blevins did deserve some pie!

| September 12, 2012

After Jerry Blevins’ miraculous escape in the A’s win on Tuesday night, he joked that he was expecting a little pie-love, ostensibly for what he figured was the pitcher’s version of a walk-off.

And you know what? He’s absolutely right.

If ever there were a situation in which a pitcher could pull his team out of a deficit to win a game, this was it. And to see what I’m talking about, let’s look at a little thing called win probability. Don’t panic that I’m going all stat-geek on you. Win probability is a very easy concept. It uses previous outcomes to figure the chances of victory for each team given each specific situation in a game, based on the score, the inning, the outs and the runners on base. It also takes into account the run environment, and I’m not exactly sure how that’s calculated, but it measures the difference between ballparks and eras. You can play around with the calculator here.

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Cody Ross and the rebuilding A’s

| January 2, 2012

After I wrote yesterday that the A’s were looking into signing Cody Ross, it seems that A’s fans from one end to another had a fit about what a disaster that would be.

So I wanted to make a few points that went beyond the 140-character limitation of Twitter…

First, all I know is the A’s have had preliminary talks with Ross’ people. I don’t know how hard (financially) they plan to go after him, and I don’t know how much interest he has in filling the role they want him to fill. Not long ago, he had his sights set on a three-year deal, or at least a shorter deal in a hitter-friendly park, and he’ll get neither in Oakland.

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The A’s are talking to Cody Ross

| January 1, 2012

The A’s are currently in talks to sign former Giants postseason hero Cody Ross, a source has confirmed to me. It proves that Billy Beane follows me on twitter.

Presumably it would be a one-year deal, as they look for someone to add just a little experience to their outfield.

Right now their starting outfield looks like, uh, Michael Taylor in LF, Collin Cowgill in CF and Josh Reddick in RF.

Ross reportedly was looking for a good hitter’s park to restore his value, so the A’s don’t offer him that. He also wanted a multi-year deal, and the A’s probably don’t offer that either. However, he may not have a lot of extra choices at this point, so we’ll see.

If the A’s don’t get Ross, I expect them to go after someone else for the outfield. They do have money, and they need a little more than Taylor, Cowgill and Reddick, especially since they’d like Taylor to dominate AAA before he comes up.

All signs point to San Jose

| December 24, 2011

Bob Nightengale tweeted this morning that MLB sources tell him the A’s will be getting approval to move to San Jose by February.

This comes a day after Billy Beane said in his Gio Gonzalez conference call that he has to assume the A’s will get a ballpark until he hears otherwise.

I think all of this matches up with what I, and a lot of other people, have believed for some time.

First, Beane must know something. If he really had no idea about the ballpark, he could have kept Gio and Cahill and tried to be more competitive this year. They are still cheap, and if the A’s bandaged together some one-year deals for hitters, they could have at least made a cursory run at contending. Remember how they were chic picks to be good 12 months ago? But the fact that he’s totally punting 2012 and giving up controllable players tells you he’s not interested in a patchwork team. He’s interested in making a very good team in two or three years.

The second part of all this is: Why are the Giants territorial rights going to finally stop being an issue, after all these years?

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The A’s are lining it up for ’13 and ’14

| December 22, 2011

It’s pretty easy to see that the A’s are unloading players like mad. They’ve already traded their top two starting pitchers from last year, and their closer may be gone by the time I’m done typing this.

Yes, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey are the only A’s to be All-Stars over the past three years, and all three may be gone by New Year’s Day.

But I think this is a good thing, in the long run.

See, the only way to have a very good, affordable, team that can stay good for a few years is to have a lot of good young players all at the same place in their careers. That’s why the A’s were so good in 2000-2003, despite what Hollywood would have you believe. It’s because Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Chavez and Tejada were all young and good at the same time.

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Myth of Moneyball

| August 26, 2011

Been spending a lot of time over the past month putting together a special Moneyball section in Athletics magazine. If you are an A’s fan, or even if you are just interested in the book and movie, I recommend you give it a look.

The main piece of the package tells the true story behind those 2002 A’s, who overcame the loss of Jason Giambi and won 103 games on a shoestring budget. The Hollywood version of the story — as best as I can tell, from the trailer — seems to be a real underdog tale. I heard the phrase “island of misfit toys” in the trailer, no doubt in reference to guys like Scott Hatteberg and Chad Bradford, who were cast off by other teams before the A’s scooped them up.

The movie’s producers want you to believe that’s why the A’s were so good. But, actually, that’s what I call the Myth of Moneyball.

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