Oakland A’s Still Unlike Any Other Team in MLB — And Excelling

The A's have been able to build a contender with a small payroll without tanking

The Oakland A's Are Unlike Any Other Team in MLB
Sheldon Neuse #64, Mark Canha #20, Marcus Semien #10 and Seth Brown #65 of the Oakland Athletics. (Daniel Shirey/Getty)
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By Evan Bleier / September 18, 2019 3:12 pm

It’s been nearly 20 years since Michael Lewis published his book, and the Oakland A’s are still playing moneyball.

Despite having one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball ($93,138,395), the A’s are once again in contention for a playoff spot, and did not need to tank in order to put themselves in that position. Under longtime general manager Billy Beane, Oakland has consistently been a competitive team, with at least three different windows of success: one from 2000-2003, one from 2012-2014 and their current one.

The A’s have only had three top-10 picks in the draft over that span, and none in the top five, making all their success even more impressive.

“Maybe the most remarkable aspect of the long-running Beane regime is this is now his third block of success with the A’s — all on shoestring budgets and all without reverting to tanking, like the Astros and Cubs did to spearhead their rebuilds (and like so many other teams are now attempting or recently attempted),” writes ESPN’s David Schoenfield.

As they were back when Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game came out in 2003, the A’s are a great story. That said, they’re yet to boast a s squad that can perform once the calendar turns to October.

With Beane calling the shots, Oakland has only won a single playoff series (ALDS in 2006 over the Twins) in nine trips to the postseason. That average — .111 — is not very moneyball-esque.

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