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Friday, November 02, 2012

Sillanpaa: Beane, not Sabean, best baseball architect around

Throws Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Look, nobody got higher on the Giants’ run through the postseason than I did. I waited decades for the Giants, my team, to win a World Series. So, to go from imagining my dying without being able to savor a world title to their winning two in three years is pretty heady stuff. So, I get the “San Francisco is the best … the Giants are the best … Sabean’s the best GM … the smell of fish at the wharf is like perfume … black and orange are the best colors in the world … Bruce Bochy’s the best manager around … the parade was the best parade ever … the rain in the ninth inning of the NLCS clincher was the best rain in history …” (I’ll go along with Bochy being the best manager in baseball. That’s a no-brainer at this point.)

I get how people drunk on the Giants’ success can rush to coronate Sabean the best GM when, really, he’s the best builder of baseball teams in 2012 who has access to something close to piles of cash. Beane doesn’t have access to piles of cash, although the Athletics penny-pinching ownership did let him sign franchise stud Yoenis Cespedes and make some trade deadline deals to bolster a lineup that was really, really (really, really) young. (The sales job Beane must’ve done to get Cespedes fresh out of Cuba … man!)

...The parade is long over, so I don’t feeling like I’m raining on it by pointing out that the Giants have a hole in left field and aren’t entirely certain whether Pence is worth what they’re paying him to play right. The A’s have Cespedes in left field and Reddick in right — anchoring the middle of the batting order.

It’s next year already, so … whose corner outfielders you like better? (It’s November and no time to go through the entire lineup or 40-man roster.)

...Hey, I love the Giants. I’ve always liked the A’s. I’m not one of those love one-hate the other Bay Area baseball fans. So, tap the brakes and let off the gas because everything connected to the Giants isn’t necessarily the best in baseball.

Repoz Posted: November 02, 2012 at 08:01 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, oakland

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 02, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4290800)
I kinda think the guy with 2 World Series titles in 3 years has a pretty good claim on being the best architect, if you judge an architect by actual buildings and not the buildings he would have created if he had more money.

OK the A's corner OF are probably better than the Giants corner OF. Which C, 3B, SS, and pitching staff do you like better?
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: November 02, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4290813)
The 2010-2012 Giants look an awful lot like the 2000-2003 A's to me. Both teams feature terrific young rotations (Zito/Hudson/Mulder vs. Cain/Lincecum/Bumgarner) at their core and both have exciting young home grown stars (Chavez vs. Posey). They have then filled in the rest with an assortment of astute acquisitions and castoffs. The Giants don't really have a Giambi (not many do) but if you really want to force the comparison both have a free swinging but productive hitter as well (Panda vs. Tejada).
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 02, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4290820)
I kinda think the guy with 2 World Series titles in 3 years has a pretty good claim on being the best architect, if you judge an architect by actual buildings and not the buildings he would have created if he had more money.
Sabean has been the Giants' GM since '97, and put the Giants in the playoffs six times. Beane has been running the A's since '98, and put the A's in the playoffs six times.

Sabean's teams have had a lot more success in the playoffs (3 pennants, 2 titles) than Beane's. If you're inclined to give Sabean credit for the playoff sucess, then he probably would rank above Beane. If you're not, Beane probably ranks ahead of having the same regular results on the cheap.
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4290892)
I kinda think the guy with 2 World Series titles in 3 years has a pretty good claim on being the best architect, if you judge an architect by actual buildings and not the buildings he would have created if he had more money.


One guy builds a $135M building that is slightly better than the building the other guy built for $55m. And so the guy who spent an extra $80M to win 9% more games is the better architect?

So obviously in your world, if Beane had another $80m to spend he'd just waste it without producing another win, either on hookers/blow, or funneled to some euro soccer team.
   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4290898)
And I don't know how Sabean even gets his team into the playoffs in the Juggernaut NL West. The DBacks, Rockies, and Padres spent $200M last year, combined!

Methinks if Beane and Sabean switched jobs in 1998, Beane has 12 playoff appearances and 4 world series championships and Sabean has been selling aluminum siding in Stockton for the last decade.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4290904)
Methinks if Beane and Sabean switched jobs in 1998, Beane has 12 playoff appearances and 4 world series championships and Sabean has been selling aluminum siding in Stockton for the last decade.


In this world, the Dodgers stuck with Paul DePodesta and the Giants haven't won the division in five years.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4290907)
I'd take Beane over Sabean without much thought but I don't think simply handing Beane more money is a guaranteed recipe for success. There are challenges that come with spending big money with the lack of malleability that the roster has offsetting one of Beane's biggest strengths. If Daric Barton sucks you can replace him with Brandon Moss, if Mark Teixeira sucks you really can't* replace him.

Like I said, I think Beane is excellent but I think it's overly simplistic to just assume spending more money is a winner.

* - I mean technically you can, but as a practical matter guys making $20 million a year don't get replaced until they have gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the road of replacement.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4290910)
Sabean does what's asked of him by the organization pretty damned well as does Beane. They have such different bosses and expectations it's tough to make an apple for apple comparison between them. I imagine the Giants and A's brass are pretty happy with their respective guys, though. The real difference between the 2 teams is on the business side.
   9. Swedish Chef Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4290916)
And I don't know how Sabean even gets his team into the playoffs in the Juggernaut NL West. The DBacks, Rockies, and Padres spent $200M last year, combined!

How convenient that you forgot to mention the big spender in the division.
   10. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4290929)
I pretty much agree with Shooty in #8. They both function well within their roles and specific circumstances. Each has their foibles/wrinkles, each has been pretty successful over their tenure (I know Beane hasn't won a seris and has only made one ALCS, but those Moneyball teams were extremely talented and I don't think their inability to get past the ALDS until 2006 was Beane's fault).
   11. Danny Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4290937)
The 2010-2012 Giants look an awful lot like the 2000-2003 A's to me. Both teams feature terrific young rotations (Zito/Hudson/Mulder vs. Cain/Lincecum/Bumgarner) at their core and both have exciting young home grown stars (Chavez vs. Posey). They have then filled in the rest with an assortment of astute acquisitions and castoffs.

The complete remake of the Giants offense is pretty amazing--Posey was the only WS starter in both 2010 and 2012. The A's had a bit more stability with Chavez, Tejada, Long, and Hernandez.
   12. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 02, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4291048)
One guy builds a $135M building that is slightly better than the building the other guy built for $55m. And so the guy who spent an extra $80M to win 9% more games is the better architect?


What's he supposed to do, win twice as many games because he has a much higher payroll? The first 70 or so are pretty easy - anybody should win them with virtually any roster (the truly horrid excepted). The wins at the other end of the spectrum are a lot more expensive.

Methinks if Beane and Sabean switched jobs in 1998, Beane has 12 playoff appearances and 4 world series championships and Sabean has been selling aluminum siding in Stockton for the last decade.


Or maybe Beane doesn't strike gold with Hudson/Mulder/Zito and he's the one selling aluminum siding. Maybe the A's would've won a title. I'd probably rather have Beane over Sabean as well if I were starting from scratch, but it's not like the difference is night and day. That's fanboy stuff.
   13. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 02, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4291106)
Sabean has been the Giants' GM since '97, and put the Giants in the playoffs six times. Beane has been running the A's since '98, and put the A's in the playoffs six times.

Well neither entered the job with a 0 WAR roster. Sabean had Bonds and Williams, whom he famously turned into Kent. Beane had Hudson, Giambi, Tejada and Chavez, whom he famously supplemented with Zito and Mulder. If you want to call that a wash and look at the years when the roster consisted mostly of their own draftees and acquisitions, say since 2005, then Sabean's done a lot better with a lot higher budget. I don't think that's conclusive one way or the other.

One guy builds a $135M building that is slightly better than the building the other guy built for $55m. And so the guy who spent an extra $80M to win 9% more games is the better architect?

Have the Giants only been "slightly better" than the A's over the past few years? Do the Giants have only "slightly better" chances in the next few years? I don't see that. If you're taking the A's very best year since 2006 and comparing it to the Giants that same year and only look at W-L record then the "slightly better" applies....but only if you do only that.

Sabean does what's asked of him by the organization pretty damned well as does Beane. They have such different bosses and expectations it's tough to make an apple for apple comparison between them. I imagine the Giants and A's brass are pretty happy with their respective guys, though. The real difference between the 2 teams is on the business side.

Yes!
   14. Bhaakon Posted: November 03, 2012 at 01:50 AM (#4291465)
If you want to call that a wash and look at the years when the roster consisted mostly of their own draftees and acquisitions, say since 2005, then Sabean's done a lot better with a lot higher budget. I don't think that's conclusive one way or the other.


2005-present

A's: .506 W% (656-639), 2 playoff appearances

Giants: .505 W% (654-641), 2 playoff appearances.
   15. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 03, 2012 at 03:52 AM (#4291481)
How convenient that you forgot to mention the big spender in the division


The one run by Colletti? LOL.

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