OAKLAND — Despite having no official plan in place for a new ballpark, A’s executive vice president Billy Beane is supremely confident that it is coming soon. So much so that he is already trading away some of the current team’s brightest assets with an eye towards entering the new park with a team that is ready to compete for a World Series.
The A’s traded away reliever and fan favorite Sean Doolittle to the Washington Nationals along with Ryan Madson on Sunday in a five-player deal in exchange for reliever Blake Treinen and two of the Nationals’ top 10 prospects minor league left-hander Jesus Luzardo and minor league infielder Sheldon Neuse.
“We’re in last place right now and the direction we are heading in is to try and get younger and be disciplined with that plan, particularly as it aligns with what we’re trying to do within the community as it relates to a new stadium,” Beane said. “There’s only one way to open a stadium. Successfully. And that’s with a good, young team.”While it seems as though the A’s have already been rebuilding the past few years, Beane said it has been frustrating to develop homegrown talent only to trade them away once they get successful, an issue he believes will no longer arise once a new stadium is in place.
Pointing to the Chicago Cubs and their model of developing players “organically” over the years, Beane said the A’s are looking to set up a similar structure for what could ultimately pay off with a World Series title run like the Cubs put together in 2016.
“Really what’s been missing the last 20 years is keeping these players,” Beane said. “We need to change that narrative by creating a good team and ultimately committing to keep them around so that when people buy a ticket, they know that the team is going to be around for a few years.”
With players like Sonny Gray and Yonder Alonso reportedly hot among contending teams as the trade deadline nears, Beane will most likely be busy making additional moves. One old approach Beane said the team is doing away with is that of looking for prospects who are closer to the big leagues and staying away from high-risk, high-reward players. The club will now just look to get the best talent they can find, even if they are in a lower classification like Neuse and Luzardo.
“I think our approach now is to try and get the best players, period,” Beane said. “This process doesn’t happen overnight and we have to be patient but I think our situation going forward is to get the best player, regardless of the level they’re playing at.”
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