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Eight years later, the A’s still aren’t selling jeans. Yet as they prepare for their first full-squad workout Sunday in Phoenix, plenty of players in camp are fit enough to model.
“Oh yeah, our guys look good in jeans,’’ concedes Beane.
That’s because Beane, who became something of a polarizing figure in the wake of the book, has adjusted and reshaped his philosophy. The alpha dog has expanded his dogma.
If the 2011 A’s develop as he hopes, they’ll spend the season playing solid defense, exhibiting well-toned bodies and running like jaguars. And, furthermore, they will contend for the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
“One of the things over the course of the last 10 years that’s gotten easier is the ability to more accurately measure a player’s defensive abilities,’’ Beane says. “Not just with us, but other teams are getting better at measuring it. We think we’re getting better, and it reflected in our team defense last year. So in that sense, I would say, it’s changed.’‘
...“The game is constantly changing, and what you want to do is maximize where you’re choosing,’’ Beane says. “For us, there have been some younger players—high school players—who have seemed like the better value. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a philosophical difference, but maybe it’s just trying to take advantage of what was there.’‘