Feb 18, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane speaks to the media during MLB media day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
As Black Friday draws to a close, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane has grabbed hold of the hot stove controls like only he can. Whether or not Beane’s next blockbuster involves Jeff Samardzija, Beane appears to be on the verge of reshaping his club yet again, according to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports. Beane’s willingness and ability to cut bait on a strategy that does not work out stands in sharp contrast with the stand-still approach of the Cincinnati Reds.
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The fundamental differences between the A’s and Reds have been on full display over the past five months, starting before the All-Star Game and bleeding over into this holiday season. In early July, nearly a month before the trade deadline, Beane sent a slew of young talent to the Chicago Cubs for Samardzija and fellow starter Jason Hammel. Then, because he thought that a bolstered rotation was the A’s’ ticket to playoff success, Beane traded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Lester at the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, Reds’ general manager Walt Jocketty toed the company line, telling fans that everything would be fine once Joey Votto healed up. Then second baseman Brandon Phillips went down, too, and a scorching Reds team sputtered out of the All-Star break and floundered at the plate. The Reds popped up in rumors involving everyone from Marlon Byrd to Alex Rios to Ben Zobrist, but Jocketty’s only move was to dump Jonathan Broxton’s salary in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.
As it turns out, the Reds and A’s both plummeted in the second half, but at least Billy Beane tried to make his team better. Jocketty just waited, in classic ostrich mode.
Now, as the snow falls and the winds blow, Reds fans are left to hope again that Cincinnati can pluck some warm body off the scrap heap to salvage a very sick offense and that Votto and Phillips and Jay Bruce will all be healthy enough to nudge up the runs a few notches. At the same time, Beane is busy unleashing his next idea, what the A’s need to be in 2015 to exploit whatever “market inefficiencies” exist as a new year dawns.
Maybe Santa will bring the Reds some lightning in a bottle.