Friday, July 14, 2006


Eight unearned runs, and now up by only 1 1/2 games. Yikes.

As much as the last two games have sucked, I find myself constantly thinking of Moneyball - Nick Swisher vs. Kevin Youkilis, each having the seasons Billy Beane knew they would eventually (check out this and this). So originally I was hardly a fan of Moneyball - I don't really care for many aspects of it. But the attacks against it were so ridiculous, and hateful, and uninformed, that I found myself needing to defend it; and over time, I even embraced it. (Just liked what happened with the Arroyo-Pena trade. And John Kerry.)

BUT. For all the success that Swisher and Youkilis have had, there is one well-publicized decision that Beane made in Moneyball which turns out to be just flat-out wrong. Here's the quote:
...Grady Fuson, the A's soon to be former head of scouting, had taken a high school pitcher named Jeremy Bonderman. The kid had a 94-mile-per-hour fastball, a clean delivery, and a body that looked as if it had been created to wear a baseball uniform. He was, in short, precisely the kind of pitcher Billy thought he had trained his scouting department to avoid....When Grady leaned into the phone to take Bonderman. Billy, in a single motion, erupted from his chair, grabbed it, and hurled it right through the wall.
Barely a year later, before he had thrown a single pitch in the bigs, Bonderman was traded to Detroit. In the deal (which sent Jeff Weaver to the Yanks), the A's also gave up Carlos Pena and Franklyn German, and got Ted Lilly, two nameless minor leaguers (who saw a total of 13 MLB at-bats), and some cash. Lilly was nothing but a league-average pitcher for the A's. Bonderman, on the other hand, has developed into an All-Star-caliber player, is an important reason why his team is leading their division, and has a salary of only $2.3M this season. Talk about monyeball - whoops.


  1. It WAS ugly last night. And we have to bounce back twice in the next two days. Losing 6 of 9 and still in first place? I'll take it. If the winning starts tonight, after the ChiSox TC of B this afternoon, on baseball-friendly (??) Fox.

  2. Well it was just one transaction so I would hesitate to indict the entire system based on that. Not to mention that the BB world is filled with GMs dealing the "mistakes" of their predecessors (or otherwise).

    And at the time of the trade, Lily actually was a young developing left hander who had been better than league average. And the A's did make two playoff appearances with him as their 4th starter. Sure it was a mistake, but every team has them.

    Take the Yankees in that trade - they gave up Lily basically for Weaver. Lily was making just above the league minimum (about $600 K in the 1-1/2 years in OAK) and they got Weaver, who pitched worse and made much more (about $6 MM).

    Oh and as a follow to the prior post.... Aaron Guiel with a big HR for the MFY last night. I sure hope Ponson does blow up, but he can occassionally get ML hitters out. Granted it was in the weak NL (that drum will never get too tired to beat), but through June 2 this year he was 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA. We'll see how Guidry does with him and how he handles NY. Could be fun.

  3. No, I wasn't trying to indict the system at all - the success of Swisher and Youkilis says tons - it was just an interesting mistake on Beane's part. A pretty clear case of his emotions getting the best of him. It wasn't anything like Kazmir-Zambrano or the recent Reds ridiculousness (man, you gotta be REALLY terrible to make Bowden look like a genius), but in retrospect it was a mistake. At least giving Bonderman a shot would've been prudent.

  4., while every team has all their "what-ifs", Bonderman on the A's is a pretty scary thought.

  5. Sure it would be nice to have bonderman there now, but it (very probably) would have come at the cost of two playoff appearances. And giving Jeremy the chance in 2002 (at the age of 19 and one year out of HS) would have likely not been productive. And absolutely GMs egos and emotions come into to play.

    Reason nuber 692 why the NL sucks - Mark Hendrickson's ERA is 3.00 in the NL after being 5.00 in the AL (granted its only 3 games.....)

  6. This is funny. You have to watch the video to the very end.