Sports | October 13, 2020 9:18 am

“Moneyball” Billy Beane Poised to Leave A’s in Deal With Fenway Sports Group

The "Moneyball” era may be over in Oakland thanks to a deal with Red Sox owner John Henry

Oakland Exec Billy Beane Poised to Leave A's
Billy Beane relaxes in the dugout prior to a spring training game in 2016.
Getty Images

After losing the American League Division Series to the Houston Astros in four games, the Oakland A’s could be losing their top baseball executive.

Oakland executive Billy Beane’s RedBall Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company that he co-chairs, is on the verge of merging with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the terms of the deal, RedBall would purchase less than 25 percent of Fenway Sports Group, valuing it at $8 billion, according to The Journal. RedBall’s minority stake in Fenway Sports would then become publicly-traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Since Beane would have an investment stake in the Red Sox following the merger, MLB’s conflict-of-interest rules wouldn’t allow him to continue to work for the A’s. Leaving Oakland would resolve the problem. Beane, who joined Oakland’s front office in 1990, would also likely have to sell the small ownership stake he has in the franchise.

In addition to owning the Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group also owns Liverpool F.C. and it’s believed Beane would have a prominent role in helping the company acquire additional soccer clubs. Beane would not have an advisory role with the Red Sox, though it seems hard to believe Henry would not ask for his input about Boston’s ballclub should the deal go down.

With Beane running baseball operations, the A’s have won more regular-season games than every team in the American League team other than the powerhouse New York Yankees and the Red Sox since 2000. They’ve reached the playoffs 11 times over that span, but have never made it to the World Series or won a championship.

If Beane leaves Oakland, someone else will have to determine how to keep the A’s competitive with big-market clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox while operating on a shoestring budget.