PHOENIX -- A's general manager
The Athletics' unusual, seemingly illogical quick change from 2008 seller to late-2008 and early 2009 buyer has many in baseball suggesting that it's a case of Beane's mad genius at work. But it actually appears the impetus for the seemingly sudden switch actually came from above. According to one competing owner, the idea to change course and go for it this year came mostly from A's owner
Beane doesn't deny that Wolff sparked the idea, saying the owner made his suggestion "in a good way." Anyway, Beane went to work, forming a fun and dangerous $58 million team by combining a conglomeration of proven every-day players. Oakland made one monster trade for superstar
The A's are considered to have among the best prospects in baseball (the Rangers, A's, Marlins, Rays and Red Sox are often cited as the top five), but are also giving themselves a shot to win now. If it works, it could become the blueprint for others.
"We are trying to rebuild, but also trying to put the best team on the field within the framework of rebuilding," said Beane, explaining the unusual strategy.
The celebrated GM, who initiated last year's stark rebuilding plan by trading away veteran pitchers
With Wolff's go-ahead, Beane and Co. acquired Holliday, who is one year from free agency and an obvious rental star, to anchor the offense and shock the baseball world. Beane later added ex-A's icon
"Billy did a tremendous job. He got Holliday, Giambi, Cabrera and Springer for what the Dodgers paid for Manny," one competing GM pointed out, though that GM conceded Beane gave up three prospects for Holliday and draft picks for the Type A free agent Cabrera.
Holliday gives the whole lineup credibility, but old friend Giambi adds a dash of panache. Only a minute or two after Giambi said Yankees GM
Beane told Giambi on that phone call, "We're going to do some big things."
"I really bought in," said Giambi, knowing his old boss as he does.
Giambi said he feels like a kid who left home, went away to college (though for seven years) and is returning home to his parents -- though Beane is actually only a few years older than the 38-year-old Giambi, who does still seem like a kid in many ways.
The quick-strike acquisition of Holliday signaled the A's had partly moved out of the rebuilding phase. But Beane was also determined to surround Holliday with offensive firepower. After they failed to land
Giambi could go into sales when his ballplaying days are done. After inviting me to talk (who does that?), Giambi gushed, "You should see some of our young arms!"
Beane felt all along that he had the pitching talent, no matter how young, to survive in their spacious ballpark.
In any case, Beane was determined to give his young staff its best chance to win games, starting with the superb Holliday, who's surely a one-year rental at the most. Actually, he might only be a half-year rental. Beane isn't averse to trading stars even after a good first half, as he did last year when the A's were several games over .500 but sold off stars because it didn't look like they'd beat the Angels.
"I'm going to treat it like I'm coming here for 100 years, and not just one year," Holliday said. "I am coming to prepare, to perform and to play at the highest level."
Holliday was never a guy who needed extra motivation, but it can't hurt to see the comparably productive
That's not going to happen here, not with the A's. But he's sure to be in for a very fun half year, or year.
A-Rod just could not adjust mentally to the idea of playing with a tear in the labrum of his right hip, people familiar with the case tell SI.com. "The pathology moves to the head, and it's difficult for most players to play without thinking about something like this," one competing GM, unfamiliar with A-Rod's thinking, said.
Nobody's blaming him for equivocating over a very important decision, but when the Yankees announced a few days ago that Rodriguez would try to play through the injury, they must have thought he would. Eventually, Rodriguez took noted hip specialist
Some major-league players have played through labral tears, and while HIPAA laws prevent teams from revealing medical conditions, it was learned that first baseman
Doctors say Rodriguez's hip injury isn't as severe as those suffered by
Rodriguez's new everyday buddy is expected to be the noted Canadian physical therapist
Lindsay, from Toronto, is a world-class physical therapist, and represents a step up on the friend scale from cousin
I don't care what anyone says, I like the WBC, where we saw ..
1. A wonderful Dutch Treat. That
2. A Canada team without
7. As for
8. I always thought Venezuela manager
9. My one WBC bet: Whichever team loses, Team USA or the Dominican Republic, A-Rod will be blamed. Or if either wins, he will be ridiculed for the team winning without him.
• The Giants want to see more out of $60-million man
• The Giants' release of good guy
• The Giants took a lot of heat from competitors for giving
• Orlando Cabrera, meanwhile, seemingly a better player now, got $4 million for one year from the cross-Bay A's. He called the market "weird," but doesn't seem bitter.
• New Dodgers second baseman
• Indians catching prospect
• Young Rangers catcher
• Rangers backup outfielder
• Negotiations toward a big deal for Rangers star
• Angels ace
• Very young Brewers outfield prospect
• A's third-base coach
• Nationals executive
• Congrats to deserving Red Sox pitcher