When you read stuff like this from the Daily News’ Bill Madden, you have to ask yourself two questions: (1) At what point will columnists stop using a now seven year-old book as a hook to write about the A’s? and (2) would Billy Beane have been better off if he had never provided
Michael Lewis the access to write “Moneyball” in the first place?
Bud Selig and the major league poobahs ought to be ashamed to be charging major league prices of $100 and stiffly upward for what amounted to be the $200 million world champions vs. Sacramento. What’s especially wrong with this picture, however, is that these are the same Oakland A’s that, in Michael Lewis’ 2003 best-selling book “Moneyball” – now being made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt as A’s GM Billy Beane – were depicted as the model franchise for all of baseball because of their ability to make the most out of spending the least.
Given the time that has passed — one of the main subjects of the book has retired already for cryin’ out loud — I can’t help but wonder if it’s really all that enlightening to critique the 2010 Oakland Athletics by referencing the book. And really, given that teams like the Yankees owe a lot of their recent success to co-opting and improving upon many of Beane’s ideas, it’s rather amusing to see “Moneyball” slammed over and over again like it is.
More importantly, the Athletics have played pretty respectable baseball this year. They’re certainly doing better than a lot of people thought they would before the season started. I know Madden is a New York guy and that he’s focusing on the A’s-Yankees series here, but for him to bash them as a AAA product based soley on four bad games in the Bronx seems a bit unfair.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.