Billy Beane: the A’s are “burdened by our venue”

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“Burdened by our venue” sounds like the name of a late period Morrissey album, yes? Anyway, here’s the A’s GM talking to CSNBayArea.com about the A’s payroll:

“At the end of the day, having more money to invest is good. I mean, our situation is somewhat burdened by our venue. We still share a stadium with the Raiders. We’re trying to secure a new venue some way, some how. But until that point comes, we have to operate very much like a business, where we spend what we have, and no more.”

I think the saddest thing ever would be seeing Billy Beane go his whole career never having had a real payroll to work with. Not that we should actually shed a tear for him.  He could have gone to Boston and probably a bunch of other places if he wanted to. But it would be nice to see what he could do with real money to spend. It could be a disaster — maybe he was put on this Earth to make smart bargain moves and would be Jim Hendry, Part Deux, if he had a payroll — but it would be interesting to see.

Oh well. I guess we just have to wait a few more years while the committee working on the A’s situation finishes what is apparently a ten thousand page report.

 

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.