Zuri Berry: Beane’s act getting tired
Right now, if you’re a fan of the Golden State Warriors, there’s a lot for you to be miffed about, losing Baron Davis and all.
But if you can stop for a second and take a quick look at the team across the parking lot in Oakland, there’s quite a bit to be angry about as well.
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, as one fan put to me Tuesday, has no loyalty to the fans after trading ace Rich Harden for two barrels of wheat and some cornflower.
“I’m done with Beane and I’m done with the A’s,” diehard Mando Navarro said. “They’ve given up.”
So it seems.
Billy Beane played the role of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin McHale in my mind, giving up his best talent for a bunch of so-so’s.
The A’s got right-hander Sean Gallagher, infielder Eric Patterson, outfielder Matt Murton and catching prospect Josh Donaldson while also giving up right-handed pitcher Chad Gaudin.
Among the four received in Oakland, only Gallagher has shown promise, pitching in 12 games this season and carrying a 4.45 ERA.
(I can’t believe that is the only justification – but it is.)
Sadly, the mix of both Gaudin and Harden in the starting rotation (Harden never really could stay healthy) was keeping the A’s on an even keel in the American League West. At eight games above .500 (49-41) and five games behind the Los Angeles Angels, I was prepping to write a column about how wrong I was to sell A’s fans short of the team’s due process. Now it seems, fate put me in a spot to seem like I was right, even though I was wrong.
As a competitive team, all the A’s needed was one more break to go there way in a very weak division. What they didn’t need was one more downgrade in the midst of a surprisingly successful season.
That’s why folks like Navarro are turned off in a heartbeat. First Darn Haren, then Nick Swisher, now this. Did Beane take enjoyment in the Chicago White Sox ripping the green and gold? Did he notice that Swisher was enjoying it a little bit too much?
I say, the time for tolerance is coming to a close.
Harden was a good pitcher that got a lot of bad breaks. He went on the disabled list six times since 2005, and twice this year. But when he was on, he was lightning in a bottle for the A’s, going 5-1 in his latest stretch of health with a 2.34 ERA. If, as I suspect, Harden stays healthy, the Cubs will be hoisting the NLCS title at the end of year. It’s almost guaranteed.
And in turn, the A’s will get another dud in their five-man rotation – a product of dispelling the big name players in Oakland and the possibility of their big-name checks.
Moneyball had appeared to kill Oakland’s season before it got underway. Now it just appears to be finishing off the job.
Zuri Berry is a sports writer at The Union. His column appears Wednesdays. You can also read his blog online at TheUnion.com/blogs/Zuri. You can contact Zuri via e-mail at email@example.com or call 477-4244.
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