No one accuses Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane of staying quiet when theres a deal to be made.
In fact, if theres one guarantee with Beane, whose career was made into the critically-acclaimed movie Moneyball, its that hes not afraid to make the unconventional move. Even if unconventional sometimes equals unpopular.
Its the timing of the moves, he says knowing when to go for it, so to speak that has kept the As competitive and led to six postseason appearances in 13 seasons.
Beane was presented with the Andrew Rub Foster Award, given to the American Leagues top executive, at Saturday nights Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Legacy Awards.
The timing of those things is critical, Beane said. The thing about being in a small market like here (in Kansas City), I never feel like you should be in between. You should either have something thats good, or you should be building something thats good.
This year, Royals general manager Dayton Moore chose the former when he pulled the trigger on one of the biggest trades of his tenure last month. In a six-player deal, he acquired James Shields and Wade Davis from Tampa Bay in exchange for Wil Myers, the consensus minor league player of the year in 2012, along with Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard.
Unconventional? For the Royals, maybe.
Unpopular? Perhaps in some fans circles. But not among general managers, Beane said.
I have a lot of respect for what theyve done here, Beane said. I think its been well-documented how much respect we all have for the young players on the Royals and the job theyve done. I totally understand why they would make that trade.
I think everyone assumes the deal has to have a zero-sum quality to it, where I win, you lose. But thats a case where KC got what they wanted and Tampa did too.
In addition to Beane, National League executive of the year John Mozeliak of St. Louis, Buck ONeil Award winner Joe Posnanski and San Diego Padres speedster Everth Cabrera were in attendance for the Legacy Awards, which honored its final class Saturday night in a ceremony Negro Leagues Museum president Bob Kendrick called bittersweet.
In the summer of 2011, Mozeliak swung a deal similar to the one that has highlighted the Royals offseason. As part of an eight-player deal, he traded top prospect Colby Rasmus for Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, a package that formed three key pieces to their 2011 World Series championship.
The longer we held on to our player, I felt like our return was going to go down and down, Mozeliak said. I saw that as an opportunity to make a deal that could swing the balance of our season, and it did.
| Sam McDowell, firstname.lastname@example.org