Here is the opening to my Sunday column about Billy Beane, wheeler-dealer:

We were talking about Oakland A’s closer Grant Balfour the other night on CSN Bay Area and how Balfour needed surgery and won’t be ready for another month or so. Host Jim Kozimor asked the relevant question: If Balfour can’t return in four weeks, is Oakland in a pickle — not that he used the word “pickle.”

Kozimor, Barry Tompkins and I batted around — bunted around? — the idea that the A’s already have two potential closers in Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle, so there’s no need for an SOS.

And then it occurred to me. The A’s are in no trouble at all. This is Billy Beane’s team. He thinks closers are overrated and refuses to pay big bucks for them.

But that’s not even the point. The main point is Beane himself, the kind of man he is, and he will get a closer if he needs one.

To read the full column, click here.

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  1. MJ

    I doubt Balfour will be out for more than 4 weeks, they are saying that he should be ready to throw in 4 weeks, not start his rehab. But even if he were, this is baseball, its a long season, be it a week or two would that really be a huge impact on the season.

    But it is nice to see some A’s love. Last year was remarkable, that post-all star stretch was one for the ages with all the walk off wins. We can only hope the moves Brad Pitt made will get them deeper in the post season, but getting there again will still be a success.

    February 17th, 2013 12:25 am

  2. Stan

    Well,last year did a lot to make people forget that for five previous seasons Beane wasn’t interested in winning anything. Just field a team on the cheap. And that’s not forgivable unless you want mass turnovers and the realistic odds he wont hit it big every year.
    The A’s cant sell any props based on their team..no, Bartolo Honey Bear hats,no Reddick long haired wigs. Fans like their stars. Beane picked the wrong sport to be unconventional. Its baseball for crying out loud.
    So,if this year Beane actually build on last? Then I can say great job Billy…but if the A’s start that malarkey of “we must trade away our stars”?..Beane and Wolf must go signs will return.

    February 17th, 2013 8:21 am

  3. Stan

    Ah,funny..we came to opposite conclusions. You say throw back,and I say too modern software bound with some bad accounting program included…..

    February 17th, 2013 1:22 pm

  4. chris

    great column Lowell………I always thought Beane was overrated…….he got the credit for building the teams in the early 2000′s when Sandy Alderson was really the one who put those teams together. Beane was the assistant GM when those teams were formed so I’m sure he had alot of input while learning from Alderson. But last year seems to be the year where Beane turned the corner as a GM and by his own admission saying it was his most enjoyable season. It’ll be interesting to see if he can sustain what he did this year. So far he’s doing exactly what he did last year by being creative with the shortstop postition and signing Lowrie who’s a solid player and great hitter.

    February 17th, 2013 6:15 pm

  5. ret

    Beane is right, closers are overrated. In fact, baseball closers and NFL running backs are two of the most overrated positions in sports. Guys like Rivera and Eck, or OJ Simpson and Payton are outliers. Look no further than last year’s Giants. Their closer went down and Giants fans (as they usually do) freaked out and overreacted. Last I heard they went on to win the WS. Think about what you’re asking a major league closer to do. That should not be that brutally hard for a major league pitcher. Bottom line: closers are very replaceable.

    February 17th, 2013 7:07 pm

  6. Tiburon Dave

    Now I’ve got whiplash!!!

    A couple of lousy trades shouldn’t torpedo Sabean and ONE magical season shouldn’t elevate Billy Beane…

    Good Lord Lowell…after one season that no one saw coming?

    Now you and Marty have him in the same sentence with Branch Rickey & Bill Veek?

    Let’s see what the A’s can do when the rest of the league sees them coming before we start to stock champagne…

    February 17th, 2013 7:54 pm

  7. Stan

    Tim Kawakami on the Blitz ” Signing Colon sends a bad message,etc”. Wasn’t Tim among those who said signing Manny Ramirez, “A win,win” situation? I could be wrong.

    And the Warriors Bogut? ..looking more and more like a B-Ball Ben Sheets.

    February 20th, 2013 5:11 pm

  8. Stan

    John Hickey of BANG on KRON “I’m having dinner with Melvin” when asked who’s paying? he answered Bob Rose,later ID as the A’s promotions/media exec
    Isn’t that awful cosy ? reporters letting the team buy you dinner?.
    Mike Urban did say weeks before he left sportswriting “The A’s warn beat writers,never get Billy Angry- or else”. I see.

    February 20th, 2013 7:00 pm

  9. Stan

    Andy Dolich today..After the miracle season, where were the A’s ads? the posters?,the commercials?,building on the great west win? The A’s stood pat.
    Andy is right- as usual.

    February 21st, 2013 12:36 pm

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