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Old 04-23-2012, 05:44 AM   #1
Hendu Style
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This is Oakland A's baseball

The year is 1992. Major League Baseball is on the verge of entering its darkest days... the Steroid Era. Hallowed homerun records will soon be shattered, as will the hopes of a once proud franchise. Three straight World Series appearances by the Oakland A's in 1988, 89, and 90 will be undone by a rapidly changing landscape, where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

But "what if?"

What if a Commissioner with enough moral conviction could stop steroids in its tracks?
What if Oakland found a way to compete with the big market teams like New York and Boston?
What if baseball as we know it changed forever?

Our journey will include recently unsealed documents from Billy Beane, the man so closely linked to Oakland's successes and failures. Get ready for never before seen access to this storied franchise, and an intimate look at how baseball brushed back steroids.


This is Oakland A's baseball.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Go for it man. Hopefully Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, & Ron Darling
have a better ending in this reality. And we'll see if you make the Canseco trade......
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:08 PM   #3
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Wasn't Billy Beane only a scout at this time? He didn't become GM until '97 and wasn't introduced to "moneyball" until later on after that.

Either way, good luck with the A's.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendu Style View Post
What if a Commissioner with enough moral conviction could stop steroids in its tracks?
I hope he starts with McGwire, Canseco, Giambi, and Menechino!

Seriously, hope this goes well for you and if you have time at some point I'd be curious to know how you intend to correct history and settings as you go... I'd like to do a similar thing at some point.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captaincarl View Post
Wasn't Billy Beane only a scout at this time? He didn't become GM until '97 and wasn't introduced to "moneyball" until later on after that.

Either way, good luck with the A's.
Very observant! Beane was an advance scout until 1993, when he was promoted to assistant GM. He was later named GM in 1997 when Sandy Alderson was appointed to the Commissioner's Office. I am sticking as close to reality as possible, until key points at which point our "alternate universe" will be created.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMLoophole View Post
I hope he starts with McGwire, Canseco, Giambi, and Menechino!

Seriously, hope this goes well for you and if you have time at some point I'd be curious to know how you intend to correct history and settings as you go... I'd like to do a similar thing at some point.
I can guarantee you at least one of these characters will be affected. I will be more than happy to share my settings, too, if they are used to influence the power numbers in the steroid era.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:12 PM   #7
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Ex-Player Beane Named Assistant GM

January 4th, 1992


Billy Beane has just been named assistant general manager of the Oakland A’s. His last big league season as a player came in 1989, when he signed as a free agent with Oakland. The one-time “can’t miss” prospect whiffed mightily, appearing in just 37 games in the ‘89 season, batting .241 in 79 at-bats. The A’s would go on to win the World Series that season, sweeping the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Bridge Series. Beane, though, was left off the playoff roster and never appeared in a big league game again.

Reassigned to the minor leagues the following season, Beane was done with baseball. At least, as a player. The day after reassignment, Beane marched into Oakland General Manager Sandy Alderson’s office, and asked him for a job in the organization. Beane was offered a position as an advance scout. For two years, he would travel across the country, going ballpark to ballpark, just as he had since 1980 when he was a first round draft pick by the New York Mets. Only this time, he wasn’t a player. Now he was scouting Oakland’s upcoming opponents. Scrutinizing the likes of Jack McDowell, Chuck Knoblauch, and Jeff Montgomery, Beane was a voyeur, watching the very same people he had played against just a couple of years earlier.

Where Beane failed as a player, he thrived as a scout. His acumen for the game and the players was without equal. He had keen instincts, shrewdly exposing strengths and weaknesses of each opponent. Where others saw a menacing homerun threat in Detroit slugger Cecil Fielder, Beane saw a gaping hole in his swing that could be exposed with a well-placed slider.

Alderson, the man who took a chance on this hot-headed kid, knew he had found his protégé. In 1992, Beane was promoted to assistant general manager. He would follow in the footsteps of Alderson, regarded as one of the top minds in Major League Baseball.

Billy Beane was being groomed to one day become a general manager himself.

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:08 PM   #8
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Can't wait to read more! I used to read your other A's dynasty from years ago before I had an account.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:09 PM   #9
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What I also meant to add, but didn't have time, is that Bill James's had written his "Baseball Abstract" by then and those could be the notes that you can refer to.

I hope that you didn't take my first post the wrong way and if you did, sorry about that. It wasn't meant to be that way.

I had read all about Billy Beane when I heard that the Red Sox were interested in signing him as the GM during the off season following the 2002 season. I even have his baseball card along with his card in my "Pursue the Pennant" game, which is of the 1986 season. I also the "Moneyball" book plus the DVD of the movie staring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.

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Old 04-24-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captaincarl View Post
What I also meant to add, but didn't have time, is that Bill James's had written his "Baseball Abstract" by then and those could be the notes that you can refer to.

I hope that you didn't take my first post the wrong way and if you did, sorry about that. It wasn't meant to be that way.

I had read all about Billy Beane when I heard that the Red Sox were interested in signing him as the GM during the off season following the 2002 season. I even have his baseball card along with his card in my "Pursue the Pennant" game, which is of the 1986 season. I also the "Moneyball" book plus the DVD of the movie staring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.
No, I got ya. The beginning of this is going to be as realistic and historically accurate as possible. I am bumping up Beane's timeline by a year for being assistant GM, but only to throw in another storyline that would impact the A's.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:51 AM   #11
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Alderson's leap of faith


Sandy Alderson, Oakland A's General Manager (1983-current)

Oakland's reign atop the American League has come to a sudden end. Their 84-78 mark during the 1991 season snapped a string of three consecutive AL West crowns, and three consecutive trips to the World Series. The Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox have leapfrogged the A's and have established themselves as the new powers that be in the junior circuit.

Knowing the team needs an infusion of fresh blood and a new initiative to bring the organization back to dominance, longtime Athletics GM Sandy Alderson has made the bold decision to appoint Billy Beane as his top assistant. The move has many baseball insiders scratching their heads. But Alderson sees something in Beane that others do not.

He is willing to bet his career on it...
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:44 AM   #12
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Billy Beane Diary

Monday, January 6th, 1992

Day one of my career in the front office begins today. Though I'm glad to be done with radar guns, clipboards, and bus rides, I have to say this job isn't as glamourous as one would think. My office is no bigger than 10 x 10 feet, and it's at the end of an unlit hall inside the cavernous Oakland Coliseum. I'm also fairly certain this room has no heating or air conditioning. But a guy's got to start somewhere, right?

My official job title is "Assistant General Manager," but it's hard to take that title too seriously when you consider MC Hammer held that same title as a kid under Charlie Finley. Then again, I'm sure Charlie O didn't drive Hammer as hard as my boss is driving me right now. Sandy Alderson greeted me with a pile of books and binders to pore through this week. Among them, "The Baseball Book," written by Bill James. I'm not at all familiar with his work, but Sandy told me to familiarize myself with Sabermetrics (um, huh?), so it looks like I'm cracking the books.

Sandy has also given me two weeks to outline a plan for getting our payroll in order. Right now, we're sitting at just over $31 million, behind only the Mets and Dodgers as the biggest spenders in baseball. He hasn't given me a specific number, but Sandy intimated that even our very generous owner (Walter A. Haas, Jr.) wants to see us rein in the spending. I can't blame him after the showing we had last season. But we were pretty fortunate to scrape together 84 wins... I can't imagine equaling that next season in arguably the toughest division in baseball.

The Twins look pretty tough coming off that World Series win over Atlanta. But to be honest, the team that I think could run away with the West is Chicago. The Sox have a pair of MVP candidates in Frank Thomas (.318, 32 HR last season) and Robin Ventura (.284, 23 HR), plus a top shelf rotation with three 20-something pitchers in Jack McDowell, Alex Fernandez, and Wilson Alvarez. This team isn't just built to win this year, but for the next 5 or 6 years. I don't know how on earth I'm going to put together a plan to save money and compete with these guys. Someone cue the Mission Impossible music.

On top of all this, I am responsible for interviewing and weeding out candidates for managerial jobs for our Single A (Stockton Ports) and Short Season A (Vancouver Canadians) affiliates.

I think I miss playing already. I never knew baseball could be so much work.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:44 AM   #13
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Billy Beane Diary: Crunching the Numbers

Thursday, January 16th, 1992

Apparently Sandy has more faith in me than I first suspected. As instructed, I interviewed candidates for two minor league managerial positions at Single A Stockton and Short Season A Vancouver. Sandy asked me who I liked for each opening, and I gave him my honest assessment, having known both in my years as a player. Sandy told me, "Hire 'em." So I did. Cecil Davis is the new manager of the Stockton Ports, and Rob Dyer is going to Vancouver.

On to bigger things...

Sandy told me he was mulling a trade with the Mets. They have offered Dave Magadan for Mark McGwire, straight-up. Both are in their late 20's, both are firstbaseman, and both are eligible for arbitration. In that regard, they are nearly identical. Magadan hit .328 in 1990, but slipped to .258 this past season and brings little pop in his bat. Big Mac, on the other hand, is coming off a career-worst .201 and 22 HR last season and is nowhere close to being the player he was in '87 when he clubbed a rookie record 49 homers and batted .289. Though he didn't solicit my advice, I told Sandy that if we are going to trade Mac, we might as well get a pitcher to stock our depleted rotation, and move Harold Baines over to first base. I'm not sure if the advice fell on deaf ears or not.

I haven't been given specific instructions on paring down our payroll, but I'm going to guess the target number is somewhere around $25 million, or $6 million lower than our total committed salaries for the upcoming fiscal year. Look at me, sounding like an accountant already.

Rickey is a free agent after the season. He is our biggest priority right now. He is already the highest-paid player in the game along with Cal Ripken and Ryne Sandberg at $4.64 million per season. We can lock him up to an extension, but he's getting up there in age (33) and is asking for a five-year deal worth $25 million. That would increase our total payroll by about $400,000 for each of the next five years. And that's if we sign him to an extension. That number could climb even higher if he hits free agency. I see Rickey as the real linchpin to our future. If we commit a big contract to him, we put all of our eggs in one basket. If we let Rickey walk, we have some much-needed wriggle room on our payroll.

Meanwhile, between Jose and Baines, we have an annual salary commitment of $8.8 million. We also got a total of 64 homeruns and 212 RBI between the two last season. Clearly, they are a big piece of the pie, both financially and in our lineup. Can we keep both? I don't know. We also have to consider Hendu, who hit 25 HR and drove in 85 RBI last season but comes with a $4 million salary.

Our four highest-paid players ($17.4 million) eat up more than half of our total player payroll ($31.2 million). This will be a sticking point for us in the next few years if we're going to stay competitive.

I think our first order of business will be determining what to do with those four players. I get the feeling Sandy already has a plan, but he wants to see what I come up with. Do I go bold and tell him to swing a mammoth trade to restock our roster, or do I play it safe and say we keep our roster intact and let Rickey go to free agency at the end of the season? I've never been the kind of guy who just takes a free pass to first base. My gut tells me I need to swing for the fences here.

But if I'm going to advise Sandy to trade our four biggest sluggers, I also need to target players we can get in return. We're not going to get Frank Thomas or Ken Griffey Junior for these guys, 2 MVP awards be damned. Seattle's not going to see a 40-40 guy in Jose Canseco like we had in '88, and Rickey Henderson -- just one year removed from that .325, 27 HR, 65 steal MVP season in 1990 -- is in the last year of a contract. Even the shrewdest front office man out there isn't going to get incredible value out of these trades.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:44 AM   #14
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Billy Beane Diary: The Proposal

Thursday, January 20th, 1992

Today's the big day. I am about to submit my proposal to Sandy Alderson for cutting payroll and improving our team. Attached are my notes for the presentation. Wish me luck.

Quote:
The window for the Oakland A's to win the AL West has closed. We have two former MVP's we can no longer afford. We have an aging roster with little to no help on the way. The one chance we had to replenish our roster in 1990 failed miserably when we drafted 4 pitchers in the first two rounds of the draft, and all 4 (Todd Van Poppel, Dave Zancanaro, Don Peters, and Kirk Dressendorfer) have flamed out.

The truth hurts. We must move on.

Outlined below are players we must trade while we can, to get maximum value and address glaring weaknesses on our roster:

Jose Canseco, RF (age 27)
.266, 44 HR, 122 RBI, 26 stolen bases in 1991
$4.4 million salary in 1992
He is just now entering his prime and would bring a windfall of talent in return on a trade. His 162 game average of .270, 40 HR, 123 RBI in 7 seasons makes him one of the most coveted players in baseball. He is also a cancer in the lockerroom, and Oakland would do well to trade him to another unsuspecting team before his ego surpasses his talent.

Rickey Henderson, LF (age 33)
.268, 18 HR, 105 runs, 58 stolen bases in 1991
$4.64 million salary in 1992
His game is predicated on speed, and as young as his legs would appear now, they can't possibly run like this five years from now if we sign him to an extension. Though we won't get fair value for Henderson in the last year of his contract, it still rids us of his salary this year and gets us something in return.

Harold Baines, DH (age 32)
.295, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 25 doubles in 1991
$4.4 million salary in 1992
A 5-time All-Star, Baines' value is high if we put him on the market. We cannot afford to keep his salary as a non-position player. GM's know Baines will have a prolonged career as a DH and should be willing to give up some quality talent in return.

Dave Henderson, CF (age 33)
.276, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 33 doubles in 1991
$4 million salary in 1992
As beloved as Hendu is in the lockerroom and by our fans, we need to be honest with ourselves and know that we have capable replacements in centerfield in Willie Wilson and Jerry Browne. I fear if we hang on to Hendu for one or two more years, we will get little to nothing in return for him. The time to trade him is now.

Two of the above mentioned players should yield quality starting pitchers in return. We should be looking for starting pitchers in the last year of their contract, or ones coming off career worst seasons but have a little gas left in the tank. We all saw the magic Dave Duncan was able to work with Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, and Dennis Eckersley. We need to take advantage of this and supply our pitching coach with new arms.

We should also be looking for underpaid middle relievers. Our manager has revolutionized the game by using relief specialists in the middle to late innings. If Tony LaRussa is going to take us to another World Series -- and I believe he will -- he is going to need an assortment of right and left-handed relievers. My recommendation is that we acquire these pitchers take advantage of the best manager and pitching coach in baseball, along with expansive foul territory in Oakland Coliseum:

Mark Gubicza, Kansas City, SP (age 29)
9-12, 5.68 ERA in 26 starts
2 years, $1.5 million remaining on contract

Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles, SP (age 33)
7-2, 3.46 ERA in 21 starts
3 years, $13.3 million remaining on contract

Greg Swindell, Cincinnati, SP (age 27)
9-16, 3.48 ERA in 33 starts
1 year, $840k remaining on contract

Arthur Rhodes, Baltimore, SP (age 22)
0-3, 8.00 ERA in 8 starts
Minor league contract

Bobby Witt, Texas, SP (age 27)
3-7, 6.09 ERA in 16 GS in 1991
Arbitration and free agent eligible at end of season

Kenny Rogers, Texas, MR (age 22)
10-10, 5 saves, 5.42 ERA
Arbitration eligible

Eric Plunk, Cleveland, MR (age 28)
2-5, 4.76 ERA in 43 games, 8 starts
Arbitration and free agent eligible

Derek Lilliquist, Cleveland, MR (age 25)
0-2, 8.79 ERA in 6 games, 2 starts
Arbitration eligible

Alan Embree, Cleveland, Closer (age 22)
Minor league pitcher

Xavier Hernandez, Houston, MR (age 26)
2-7, 3 saves, 4.71 ERA in 32 games, 6 starts
Arbitration eligible

Michael Jackson, San Francisco, MR (age 27)
7-7, 14 saves, 3.25 ERA in 72 games
Arbitration and free agent eligible

Mike Timlin, Toronto, MR (age 25)
11-6, 3 saves, 3.16 ERA in 63 games, 3 starts
Minor league contract

Al Leiter, Toronto, MR (age 26)
0-0, 27.01 ERA in 3 games
Arbitration eligible

Pet Hentgen, Toronto, SP (age 23)
0-0, 2.45 ERA in 3 games, 1 start
Minor league contract

Joe Magrane, St. Louis, SP (age 27)
10-17, 3.59 ERA in 31 starts
Arbitration eligible

Paul Quantrill, Boston, MR (age 23)
Minor league pitcher


The time to move on is now. Every day that we wait, we allow our roster to get older, and let the White Sox and Twins build more and more separation between us and the top of the AL West.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:23 PM   #15
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January 22, 1992 | ROSS NEWMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Is baseball coming to Florida ahead of schedule? A group of St. Petersburg investors is hoping so. Just as Major League Baseball is preparing to expand into Miami and Denver for the 1993 season, investors are preparing a bid to purchase a struggling MLB franchise and move it to the Tampa Bay area.

"It's not a question of 'if,' but rather 'when,'" said one anonymous source close to the potential ownership group. "It's going to happen, and it's going to happen soon."

The anonymous source said the group had narrowed down its list to three different franchises, but would not say which teams or if they were for sale or not. The Mariners have struggled since their inaugural season in Seattle in 1977, both on the field and financially. The San Francisco Giants went to the World Series as recently as 1989, but have failed to secure a ballpark deal they so desperately need to replace the dilapidated Candlestick Park. The Astros are also considered a possibility, playing in the antiquated Astrodome and facing declining attendance in each of the past four seasons, failing to draw 2 million fans since the 1980 season.

Wayne Huizenga, who is the majority owner of the future Marlins franchise in Miami, is believed to be very much against any franchise moving to Tampa Bay. He has reportedly gone to the MLB Commissioner's Office and claimed that a franchise in Tampa Bay would infringe upon his club's territorial rights in Florida.

"Florida is big enough for more than one team," said the anonymous source. "The Marlins aren't the only fish in this pond."
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:42 PM   #16
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Good luck. This has been an interesting start, and I can't wait to see where you go with it!
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:07 AM   #17
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Billy Beane Diary: No Way, Jose!

Friday, January 24th, 1992

Well, I didn't get laughed out of Sandy Alderson's office when I made my pitch to him last week. I didn't exactly come out feeling entirely confident, either. Even after playing for him, and then working as an advance scout for him, I'm still trying to feel Sandy out. He's a vietnam war vet, smart as hell, and maybe the best damn general manager I've ever met. And yet, I still don't know what makes him tick.

I have made a habit of recording many of our conversations -- with his blessing -- much like a reporter would in a postgame interview. I actually asked one of the local beat reporters, Pedro Gomez of the San Jose Mercury News, to set me up with a good tape recorder. He did, joking that I had to let him listen to all the tapes someday. Yeah, fat chance. Not unless congress subpoenas me!

Pitchers and catchers report in a month. I feel like I'm already behind the eight-ball. I was hoping we would have made a big trade by now, but Sandy is slow playing it. Who am I to argue? He's the one that designed that World Series dynasty. But I'm just wondering what the hell his plan is...

Audio tape of conversation between Billy Beane and Sandy Alderson, Thursday, January 20th, 1992:

Quote:
Alderson: So, what do you got for me, Billy?

Beane: The window for the Oakland A's to win the AL West has closed. We have two former MVP's we can no longer afford. We have an aging roster with little to no help on the way. The one chance we had to replenish our roster in 1990 failed miserably when we drafted 4 pitchers...

Alderson: Hang on there... are you reading off cue cards?

Beane: Yeah? So I don't forget anything.

Alderson: Lose the cards. This is isn't a book report. What's the plan? What would you have me do?

Beane: ....

Alderson: Come on... now's not the time to get shy, Billy Boy. Lay it on the line. Tell me: What should I do?

Beane: You need to trade Rickey. You've got to get rid of Canseco.

Alderson: (sarcastically) Oh, is that all?

Beane: No, Hendu and Baines also have to go.

Alderson: And why exactly would I want to do that?

Beane: Because we're not going to win the AL West with them. We might as well lose without them...

Alderson: I'm listening...

Beane: We have the third-highest payroll in baseball. The White Sox and the Twins are getting better, and we're getting worse. I don't see any scenario under which we win the American League West. Now's the time to get rid of our highest-paid players and restock our roster.

Alderson: This team went to the World Series less than two years ago...

Beane: We need to stop looking at 1988-89-90. Think 1991. Think 84 wins. Now shave off half a dozen wins this year. That's what we're looking at in 1992. With or without these guys, we're a sub .500 team.

Alderson: Pretty bold statement. I would argue we have the best leadoff man in baseball. We have a lethal #3 hitter who is a lock for 40 homeruns. And you want me to trade both of them. For what?

Beane: Relief pitchers.

Alderson: (laughing) I'm sorry... I thought you said relievers!

Beane: Hear me out, Sandy. You have the best coaching staff in baseball. Tony practically wrote the book on using the bullpen, and we need to arm him with the top relievers out there. Listen, you can go out and trade Jose for Dave Cone, straight-up, or you can go get LaRussa three damn good relievers who Tony will use to dominate the middle and late innings every night. When you think about it, it makes sense.

Alderson: We're not trading Canseco. I'll tell you that much.

Beane: But Sandy...

Alderson: No, no, I already know what you're going to say. He's not a good teammate. He's overpaid. He's just an all-around a-hole. No argument here. But, we trade a guy like Canseco, and it sends the wrong message to the fans and to the team. It tells them we're giving up.

Beane: But we are...

Alderson: We are, but we're not. Do you get it? We can cut payroll and we can rebuild the roster, but we need to send a message that we're getting better... not worse. Talk to me about Rickey.

Beane: Alright... he's in the last year of his contract, right? He wants a 5-year extension worth $5 million a year...

Alderson: Psssshhhhh.

Beane: Right. If you are serious about cutting our payroll, we need to let Rickey go. But instead of letting him walk in free agency and getting nothing in return next year, why not get something right now?

Alderson: Now we're talking. So what do we get for Rickey?

Beane: In my opinion, our starting rotation is FUBAR. Since 1989 our staff ERA has climbed from the low 3.00's to north of 4.5 last year. That's a run and a half per game we're just handing back to the other team. We can't get that run and a half back on offense. But we can get it back on the mound, with great relievers and capable starters.

Alderson: Enough with the relievers. I get it. What about the starters?

Beane: Our starting rotation right now consists of Mike Moore, Dave Stewart, Ron Darling, Joe Slusarski, and Bob Welch. Moore is solid. Darling could be alright. Who knows about Slusarski? But Stew and Welch... their best years are behind them.

Alderson: I wouldn't argue with you on that. Alright, so let's say we need to get two solid starting pitchers. Who can we get?

Beane: Realistically? Arthur Rhodes. Joe Magrane. Bobby Witt.

Alderson: Magrane and Witt were horrible last year!

Beane: Exactly. They are your typical Dave Duncan resurrection project. Back from the dead! You saw what he did for Snake Eyes and Eck. Imagine what he could do with those two.

Alderson: And who was the other fella?

Beane: Rhodes. Rookie last year in Baltimore. Solid lefthanded pitcher. The O's aren't too high on him... I liked what I saw last year when I scouted him.

Alderson: Are you willing to bet your job on it?

Beane: Well... I wouldn't go that far...

Alderson: Yes, or no? You have a chance to trade Rickey for Rhodes... do you do it?

Beane: Yes.

Alderson: Okay, I'll noodle it around. No more talk about Jose. He's staying. Got it? I'll look into Hendu and Baines.

Beane: Sandy... what's the end game here? I mean... where do you see this going? Why not just trade Canseco now while he has value? Unless you think we can win right away, why not just trade him?

Alderson: You're not the only one with a plan, Billy Boy.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:09 AM   #18
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Good luck. This has been an interesting start, and I can't wait to see where you go with it!
Thanks, Donnie Baseball. Means a lot coming from you. Big fan of your milestone dynasty. Sorry to see that one die.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:52 AM   #19
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TBNN Breaking: A's Trade MVP Henderson to Rangers

***Breaking News Bulletin***
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:13 AM   #20
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Confirmed: Henderson Going to Rangers in Texas-Sized Trade

Monday, January 27th, 1992

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Rickey Henderson is taking his All-Star act to the Lone Star state. The Oakland A's traded baseball's all-time stolen bases leader to the Texas Rangers on Monday in exchange for pitchers Bobby Witt and Kenny Rogers. The trade was first reported by TBNN.

"Rickey has been an integral part of this organization for the last three years," A's general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. "He was the difference between us losing the World Series in '88 and winning it in '89. There is no hyperbole too strong to describe what Rickey Henderson has meant to this team."

Henderson, an Oakland native, won the AL MVP award in 1990, when he hit .325 with 28 homeruns while scoring a league-best 119 runs and stealing 65 bases. He joins an already potent Rangers lineup that includes Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, and Ruben Sierra. Henderson is expected to be introduced at a Texas Rangers press conference on Tuesday.

Witt, originally from Arlington, went just 3-7 with a 6.09 ERA in 16 starts last season for Texas, but won a career-high 17 games and struck out 211 batters in 1990, while posting a 3.36 ERA. Rogers enters his fourth big league season with a career record of 23-20 with a 3.97 ERA in 205 appearances. Witt is expected to join the A's starting rotation while Rogers will likely pitch out of the bullpen.

"We are by no means conceding the AL pennant," Alderson said. "Far from it. This is the first step in what I believe will reposition ourselves as a championship contender."

Henderson is eligible for free agency after the season. The move saves the A's approximately $4 million in salary for the upcoming season.
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