Beane moves into advisory role for Athletics, Forst stays GM

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Longtime executive Billy Beane is stepping away from the day-to-day operations of the Oakland Athletics to become the senior advisor to owner John Fisher.

David Forst will lead baseball operations, maintaining his title of general manager.

“This is really as much as me taking on a new role but also David taking on a responsibility that he’s earned as one of the probably top executives in the game, truly, in my opinion,” Beane said on a conference call. “The great thing is, as I’ve said in the past, I’m still a member of the Athletics family. I’m very grateful to John and the relationship that we’ve forged over the time since he’s taken over ownership.”

The A’s are seeking to build a new ballpark in Oakland and Beane will help with that effort as well as strategic work in other broad areas. He also is free to continue pursuing non-baseball interests such as ownership stakes in professional soccer clubs abroad and even a cricket team in India.

“Billy is and will always be an Athletic. He is a trusted advisor to me and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him on strategic initiatives that impact our club,” Fisher said. “This position at the ownership level allows Billy to pursue other non-baseball sporting interests while continuing to hold an important role with the A’s and me.”

Forst will lead the A’s after a 102-loss season in manager Mark Kotsay’s first year.

“I personally owe so much to Billy. I tend to think that the sport and the industry do as well,” Forst said. “I just think so much has changed about who is working in baseball over the last 20-plus years that he had a lot to do with, how the game is evaluated, how we see things.”

The 2011 movie “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt as Beane focused on the 2002 edition of the low-budget A’s and a thrilling 20-game winning streak. Ultimately, Oakland lost in the first round of the playoffs. The film was adapted from the 2003 best seller by Michael Lewis detailing Beane’s unconventional methods and management style in running a ballclub.

The A’s have continued to trade away their top players, unable to sign their top free agents given their financial constraints.

“There’s no denying the impact that `Moneyball’ and Billy’s high profile had on how we operate now in baseball and how the game is viewed,” Forst said.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.