Recent front office promotions will benefit the Oakland A’s
It’s been a trend among teams in the last few seasons to have multiple general managers. They don’t all share the same title but it seems to be the way teams are essentially keeping or stockpiling talent in their front office.
The phenomenon started in 2011 when Theo Epstein was hired as president of the Cubs and Jed Hoyer was given the position as general manager. Quite a few other teams have followed suit in the year following 2011 and the Oakland Athletics appear to be finally following suit.
After 18 years as the A’s general manager (1998-2015) the A’s have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and long-time assistant GM David Forst has been named general manager of the ballclub. Team president Mike Crowley will retain his position.
Under the new restructured A’s front office Forst, who has been with the A’s for 16 years and served as the assistant GM for 12 of those years, will take on the everyday duties that mostly include trades and signings.
Beane is happy with the move, besides that fact that it is a promotion of sorts, because he will be able to take over some of the more important overall issues surrounding the club. He will be able to get to the grassroots level of the organization, relating to scouting, drafting and player development.
The change for the A’s actually makes quite a bit of sense to have happened at this time, not earlier and not later. The A’s acquired a considerable amount of promising young talent in their many offseason and mid-season trades.
“To be honest with you, I’d like to be more involved than I have been in the last few years as it relates to the draft and player development,” Beane said. “That’s sort of the grassroots of the business, and after awhile, it’s something you get separated from and you’d like to reconnect with it in a bigger way.
Beane also said that he “hopes” that reconnecting with player development and scouting will be just what the A’s need and that the next few years for the team are going to be “critical.”
He’s correct in the fact that the next few years will be quite critical, especially in the area of player development. With all his trades both off and midseason, Beane’s replenished pitching in the Athletics farm system and even picked up a couple of capable hitters along the way.
Sean Manaea, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt and Aaron Brooks are just a handful of young talent the Athletics have acquired, there are quite a few others both pitchers and position players that have limitless potential if they are developed properly during their time in the lower leagues.
All but Manaea, who is still at the Double-A level, have had success in the Major Leagues in 2015, yet, they have each had moments where there have struggled, meaning they could use a little more development before eventually being able to realize their full potential at the big league level. Graveman especially showed signs of brilliance while making starts for the A’s this season and could be an elite pitcher with a bit more experience.
There are also quite a few young hitters like Franklin Barreto, also acquired in one of the A’s many trades who is just 19 and already tearing it up with the High Class-A Stockton Ports but at such a young age he’ll need the right kind of guidance as well.
Beane being hands on in player development, scouting and drafting these kids will likely flourish under his guidence. Not to mention the fact the the A’s, who just finished a dismal 2015 finishing the year with a record of 68-94, will have the highest draft pick they’ve had in years at number six overall. Having Beane helping with scouting they will likely to pick up a better player.
Using Beane’s approach to obtaining players for the ballclub will be invaluable. A leader of using sabermetrics in baseball, as well as being a former player himself, Beane knows the best way to overall evaluate a player.
He told CIO’s Thor Olavsrud how his experience as a player, added with sabermetrics will help the with the scouting department’s decision making.
“I’m a former player, allegedly, if you saw my stats. I was judged the traditional way: the eye test. I was measured by skills that weren’t really relevant to playing the game. I was a misjudged asset in my own career. Then the whole world opened up to me. [Sabermetrics] turned the world and the game into a mathematical equation that was easy to understand.”
Under Beane’s tenure as GM the A’s have made the playoffs eight times in 16 seasons this century but they have only made it past the first round once, in 2006. He is obviously doing something right, even with the league’s fourth lowest payroll.
The next few years of developing and bringing up all the newly acquired talent will go more smoothly under Beane’s tenure as VP of baseball operations. Who knows? The team may even make it into the World Series one day, that is every team’s goal but it is Beane truly puts all his efforts into.
The promotions of Beane and Forst may be just a small change in leadership for the team’s front office but could end up being the best thing that the A’s have done in quite sometime.