Billy Beane sure is diplomatic.
In his weekly conversation with Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game, the club vice president and general manager weighed in on the closer by committee situation, how much playing time Brandon Moss will get against lefties, and even had time to dodge a question about the ongoing war of words between the team and the Joint Powers Authority.
Here are some of the highlights from the interview, which you can listen to right here, via the 95.7 The Game PodCenter.
(Note: Questions paraphrased, answers directly transcribed.)
How much time will Brandon Moss see against lefties moving forward?
“We’re going to stick to the career history in most cases.”
Moss’ career history against lefties is, of course, not good. Not good at all. Last year, the slugger hit 26 of his 30 home runs against right-handed pitching. However, he also had 417 plate appearances against righties, as opposed to just 88 against left-handers.
What would you do? Stick with the career history, or gamble that Moss can improve against left-handers with more opportunities? I’d go for the latter.
What’s the status on the closer situation?
“It’s still early. Listen, this thing still needs to play itself out.”
Could the committee be getting even more crowded?
“We’ve also got [Eric] O’Flaherty coming around the corner. He’s going to be joining us this summer, he’s doing great. “
The left-hander, who is currently working his way back from Tommy John surgery, could rejoin the club as soon as early June. In 373 career relief appearances, the former Atlanta Brave has zero saves. Ultimately, I think Jim Johnson remains the best closing option, but the way Beane talked about O’Flaherty, I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up factoring into the equation.
Bruce also asked Beane for his take on the club’s decision to reject a 10-year lease extension…
“Oh, man. Well, the good thing is that’s not in my department in some sense, so I could deflect it…But I think our position has always been and I’ll speak as the general manager, we’ve always tried to keep player issues and player contracts in house…and I think that’s ultimately how we’re going to continue to approach this…These things are never served well when they’re negotiated publicly.”
Beane is absolutely correct. The stadium situation is not in his “department.” That issue falls into the purview of Michael Crowley, the club president.
But here’s a question: Why isn’t the stadium issue in Beane’s department?
There is no doubt that Beane is the club’s smartest and most accomplished employee. The franchise’s most important issue should be handled by its most capable executive. To do otherwise is just a misallocation of talent.
Sure, dealing with the stadium situation would pull Beane away from his baseball operations responsibilities. But that’s fine. Beane’s lietenants David Forst and Farhan Zaidi have proven themselves to be quite good at what they do. The same can’t be said of Crowley and minority owner Lew Wolff, who have been heading up the stadium project.
It’s time Beane takes the lead on the stadium front.
Note: All quotes courtesy of 95.7 The Game.