Billy Beane was the Mad Trader Of The Pampas when he got Jeff Samardzija, but that deal’s old news now. Now, he has Jon Lester, he gave up Yoenis Cespedes to get him, and if there is such a thing as a bet after all-in, this is it.
Beane is, in short, pure crazed right now. The scent is in his nostrils as never before, and the man who kept saying the playoffs are a crap shoot has decided there’s a way around shooting craps. That way, clearly, is to have all the pitchers in the world.
Makes you wonder if maybe this isn’t his last big immolative act before he rides off into whatever the sunset for general managers in their 50s is. I mean, who knows? Maybe now that the Oakland Athletics are going to remain the Oakland Athletics, he’s just decided, “Screw it. Let’s play our game.”
[NEWS: A's land Lester, send Cespedes to Red Sox]
The A’s weren’t one of those teams in on Lester, the Boston ace, at least not according to the heroin fiends who fuel the baseball rumor wire. The last team of the many to be mentioned was Pittsburgh. But suddenly, he says, “I think we’ve seen the best of Cespedes.” Suddenly, he concludes, “I do believe in chemistry, Jonny Gomes has it, and I want it back.” Suddenly, he decides, “The future is 15 minutes from now, and if I can’t win a World Series with a nine-man starting rotation, then I can’t win a World Series.”
There really is nothing more to tell on this. Beane has broken all programming. He is eyelids-deep in the trader’s version of angel dust. He is going to be the first manager to make ALL the big deals, and if the Phillies hold firm and deal nobody, he’ll be that guy. He is the man that QVC and eBay dream of -- the multimillionaire without impulse control.
He is, in short, the Best General Manager Sports Talk Ever Invented.
It doesn’t really matter what he intends, because even if this isn’t the reality (and it’s damned sure close to it), it is sure as hell the perception, and he doesn’t have a single thread of evidence to refute it.
Now maybe he doesn’t do this if Jason Hammel hadn’t started so poorly, or if Tommy Milone, upset at his demotion, hadn’t asked for a trade. Or maybe neither of those things matter. Maybe Beane has just become the guy who can’t say no.
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Hell, maybe he has John Fisher and Lew Wolff duct-taped to chairs in one of the Coliseum basements.
Or maybe -- and let’s go full tinfoil hat here -- maybe they told him, “Listen, we’re not sticking around for any long haul. Go and get every living thing you can get, win this one time, and we can get out with a ring and with the town we both live in not hating our guts quite so much.”
You know what? Let’s say it’s all those things. Let’s even say Billy has stopped waiting for sabermetrics to kiss him on the head and decided that an unscientific but crank-laced buying spree is the new market inefficiency. Yeah, that’s what I’m going with. Money On Fire.
And the best thing is, there’s still another trade deadline to go here. Johnny Cueto, pack your bags. Cole Hamels, you too. That red you like clashes with green except at Christmas, and Billy’s riding Hell’s Own Santa Sled.