Sunday, June 24, 2007

Do not deal with this man, for he is the Devil

I will never forgive this man for introducing us to Neifi Perez
By now you've probably heard that Dayton Moore's proposed trade with Billy Beane -- Leo Nunez (0.87 ERA in six appearances in Double A) for outfielder Milton Bradley (.292 in 19 games this season... both players have recently dealt with injuries) -- fell through. It probably wasn't the A's fault that Bradley is God's personal smite-practice target -- "He apparently suffered [an] oblique injury on a swing in his final at-bat Wednesday against the Reds," reports the KC Star -- but does it really matter? That velvet curtain behind Beane's head may as well be the flames of Hell, since no man who's openly robbed so many franchises can possibly end anywhere but the pit of eternal suffering.

Here's a short list of the general managers he's fleeced over the years (I'm leaving off one particular name for later):

Mark Shapiro
Brian Cashman
Brian Sabean
Steve Phillips
Dan O'Dowd
Jim Hendry
J.P. Ricciardi
Kenny Williams

We all know Beane's had all his success despite consistently having one of tightest budgets in baseball (Oakland: bad baseball town), and you can read all about it elsewhere (Kansas City's friend, Rob Neyer, wrote that article; there's also this list, which might be underrating Beane at No. 4). For his unlikely success, he's called a genius. But you don't guide a team to the most second-half wins ever, in 2001, and come within one win of tying that record one year later -- after losing your best hitter, Jason Giambi -- without some help from other teams. Silver platter stuff. And no one's served bigger helpings to the Oakland A's than this man:

Allard Baird

If you mention "Billy Beane" to Allard Baird, there's a good chance you could find a pencil lodged in your larynx within five seconds. Here's what Michael Lewis wrote in Moneyball:

[Beane] came close to getting Kansas City outfielder Raul Ibanez, but then Ibanez went on a hitting tear that led Kansas City to reevaluate his merits and decide that Billy Beane was about to pick their pockets again. (The year before, at the trade deadline, Billy had given Kansas City nothing terribly useful for Jermaine Dye, just as, the year before, he'd given them next to nothing for Johnny Damon.)

Let's be honest: Neifi Perez was not "nothing terribly useful." He was a pile of fetid crap. And for Johnny Damon, the Royals got Angel Berroa, Roberto Hernandez, A.J. Hinch and cash. I mention the cash -- you know what, I'm going to capitalize it... Cash -- in the hopes that it makes the trade look a little more palatable. Maybe it was $10 million. In any case, the Royals also gave up Mark Ellis, who's been Oakland's everyday second baseman since 2002 (missing 2004 with a torn labrum) and recently became the sixth player in A's history to hit for the cycle.

Really, if Beane had been in charge of the Iran hostage crisis, he could have pulled off a much better deal.

POSTSCRIPT: Clark Fosler at Royals Authority has a very interesting point: perhaps Bradley was just a smaller piece in another deal. Merely speculation, but I certainly wouldn't put it past our hero to be thinking a few steps ahead. Personally, though, I'd rather have Nunez, who could develop into a dominant reliever, especially now that Beane's expressed interest in him.

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