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Friday, August 03, 2012

Money ballin’: Farhan Zaidi of the Oakland A’s

He also remembers his first amateur draft, although it might be one he’d like to forget.

“That was the year we took Cliff Pennington at the top of the draft,” Zaidi says. “I very much remember the conversations in the draft room. From a statistical standpoint (Pennington) had everything you wanted. He hit for power, he walked, he didn’t strike out much, he played shortstop, so he played a premium position.

“I still remember to this day, the debate we were having was between Cliff Pennington and (Jacoby) Ellsbury, the (Boston) Red Sox centrefielder who went a couple picks later. Those were two guys who, from a statistical standpoint, actually looked very similar.”

...For a small market team with limited funds, it’s all about cost-control.

“You read some of the coverage of our deals and people seem to think we enjoy trading away established players — we don’t,” Zaidi says. “You always have to evaluate what’s best for the long term and if you think you can get pieces that add up to greater potential in the future, then you have to at least consider it.

“Sometimes, you’re right, and sometimes, you’re wrong. If you just always go with the popular perception of these players, that’s probably a recipe for mediocrity.”

He’s a Furmaniak, Furmaniak at your door!

 

Repoz Posted: August 03, 2012 at 07:59 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4199551)
Nothing to be embarrassed about in the Pennington pick. He was excellent in 10, so-so in 11 (depends on what you think his defense was like -- bWAR didn't like it) and terrible in 12. And he hasn't even reached arbitration yet.

Ellsbury was of course huge last year but outside of that has generally been average and frequently hurt and made $8 M this year (and $2.4 last year which was quite the bargain). Obviously you'd rather have Ellsbury but it's not like they passed on Trout or anything.
   2. The District Attorney Posted: August 03, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4199556)
From a statistical standpoint (Pennington) had everything you wanted. He hit for power
He did what, now?

I'm in a 24-team Strat-O-Matic team with lots of keepers per team, so we go pretty deep. Will Eric Sogard get any time this year?
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4199562)
Will Eric Sogard get any time this year?

Not a lot with Pennington back and Hicks coming back in September.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4199568)
“You read some of the coverage of our deals and people seem to think we enjoy trading away established players — we don’t,”


How much do you enjoy pocketing all that free money confiscated from other teams? You know, the free money ostensibly purposed to allow you poor mouth teams to sign your established players?
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4199572)
Aw, YR, you're just phoning it in this morning. Come on, man!
   6. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4199576)
I'm writing on my way to Trail Ridge Road in Estes Park. Google Image Search that and see if you could muster the appropriate level of disgust for these penurous fiends in Oakland when surrounded by such splendor,
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4199577)
“Sometimes, you’re right, and sometimes, you’re wrong. If you just always go with the popular perception of these players, that’s probably a recipe for mediocrity.”

It would be interesting to see if MLB teams do a better job of drafting than, say, an aggregation of how the top prospect publications/pundits rank a draft class.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4199579)
I'm writing on my way to Trail Ridge Road in Estes Park. Google Image Search that and see if you could muster the appropriate level of disgust for these penurous fiends in Oakland when surrounded by such splendor,

Now I'm wondering why you're wasting your time here at all today. Watch out for bears!
   9. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4199589)
At 12,000 feet angry typing is about as much exertion as can be managed. By the time we've hiked to 13,000 feet I'll be so oxygen-deprived I'll be panting monologues about how handsome and honest Bud Selig is.
   10. just plain joe Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4199595)
For a small market team with limited funds, it’s all about cost-control.


In what universe is Oakland "small market"? They might well have limited funds, but that is more of a function of how the team has been run, not the size of their market.
   11. philly Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4199597)
Ellsbury was of course huge last year but outside of that has generally been average and frequently hurt and made $8 M this year (and $2.4 last year which was quite the bargain). Obviously you'd rather have Ellsbury but it's not like they passed on Trout or anything.


Well that was the 2009 draft when they took a collegian Grant Green (great stats and more likely to help first!) instead.

And yes, I know almost everybody passed on Trout. Just a joke.
   12. The District Attorney Posted: August 03, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4199623)
I dunno who Hicks is, but if it's the guy from Aliens, I definitely would not play a nerdy-looking guy like Sogard over him. I guess I'll send out one of these "anyone want this bum for nothing?" leaguewide messages before I release him. Thanks, Shooty.
   13. Traderdave Posted: August 03, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4199627)
In what universe is Oakland "small market"?


While it's not Kansas City, Oakland's "effective market size" (to coin a phrase) is pretty small.

There are approx 7MM people in the Bay Area. A very large portion of them are immigrants from places without a baseball culture, such as China, India, etc. Another huge chunk are transplants who retain solid support of their hometown teams. Add in the significant advantage enjoyed by the Giants simply by having a decade's head start and the plethora of competing recreational activities in the Bay Area (face it, aint much to do in KC, et al) and suddenly the market size on paper starts to look a lot smaller in reality.

Not to discount Oakland's disastrous, some say willful, errors in management & marketing -- much of the A's trouble IS self-inflicted -- just saying that 7MM souls here is not the same as it would be in Chicago or other places.


   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4199642)
I think you could call the A's "small-revenue" instead of "small market" if you prefer, but from the perspective of Beane, Forst and Zaidi it works as the same thing--they have a smaller budget to work with than most other teams. You'd like to think the A's president and the business side of the operation would be working harder to pick up the revenue to support baseball operations, but that's never been the Oakland way for whatever reason.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4199674)
I wish there were more stories from management types giving us a glimpse of "what if?" I don't think he has anything to be ashamed of picking Pennington over Ellsbury. Did anyone project Ellsbury would hit with any kind of power? There's something to be said for minor league development.
   16. JJ1986 Posted: August 03, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4199680)
I think passing on Colby Rasmus was probably a worse draft day blunder. He was a better draft prospect than Pennington or Ellsbury.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4199734)
At 12,000 feet angry typing is about as much exertion as can be managed. By the time we've hiked to 13,000 feet I'll be so oxygen-deprived I'll be panting monologues about how handsome and honest Bud Selig is.


I did Blanca Peak when I was 17 and in incredible shape...and at the end it was still, "climb 25 feet, stop 25 seconds". Now I get winded looking at a map of Colorado.
   18. Danny Posted: August 03, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4199740)
It's interesting to see Pennington described as a stats pick given how much BA raved about his makeup. From BA's 2005 Top 200 draft prospect list, where Pennington ranked 27th (Ellsbury was 25th):

Pennington's best attribute is his makeup, which could elevate his draft stock above his pure talent and get him picked in the upper half of the first round. Scouts have loved Pennington's grit and energy since he was in high school, and he won the Cape Cod League's 10th player award for his spirited play last summer. There's no doubt he'll squeeze every last drop out of his ability. Pennington is more than just a gamer, however, offering tools across the board. He can bat at the top of a lineup, making consistent contact and providing gap power from both sides of the plate. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he runs well and his instincts make him a threat on the bases. He led the Cape with 21 steals in 2004. Pennington's savvy also enhances his range at shortstop, where he can make both the routine and acrobatic plays. He has an above-average arm, a quick release and the ability to make throws from any angle. Pennington has gotten better and stronger each season at Texas A&M and has learned to play under control. One scout compares him to Brian Roberts (minus the 2005 power explosion), with a leaner and taller frame, more speed and a better arm. Rumors persist that if the Royals decide to save money with the No. 2 overall pick, he could be their man.


Also, Straily!
   19. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 03, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4199753)
Also, Straily!

Looking forward to seeing him pitch tonight.
   20. A triple short of the cycle Posted: August 03, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4199969)
Pennington is nothing if not scrappy. It is sortof comical how his mouth is usually wide open (looks like he's grunting) whenever he is doing something like hitting the ball or making a defensive play.
   21. A triple short of the cycle Posted: August 03, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4199972)
Classic Pennington face:

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Oakland+Athletics+v+St+Louis+Cardinals+YrikX0rOW78l.jpg
   22. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4200047)
Classic Pennington face:

Yes.
Also, I think his arm must have improved muchly since that scouting report.
My consistent impression is that the dude has a cannon.

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