We're still using "Moneyball" reference to bash the A's? Really?

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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.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.