What Doyle Stands For
So, yea, Billy Beane traded for Chris Snelling last night. Now, this shouldn’t be any huge surprise – Beane is constantly looking for opportunities to make his team better both now and in the future, and when he has a chance to acquire a guy he feels is undervalued, he jumps on it.
Last week, he traded two players to be named later for Chris Denorfia, despite the fact that Denorfia is out for the season. Why? Because Beane believes that Denorfia can help them next year as a fourth outfielder making next to nothing, and he saw a chance to improve the 2008 Oakland A’s.
Then, the next day, he essentially bought Ryan Langerhans from the Atlanta Braves. Langerhans was a good defensive outfielder who has a history of being a decent enough hitter, but was in a terrible slump, and again, Beane saw an opportunity to help the A’s by picking up a guy with useful skills for nothing of value.
Yesterday, he flipped Langerhans to the Nationals for Doyle, who is a classic Billy Beane player. So, essentially, in the span of a couple of days, Beane picked up Snelling for some cash. With the injuries the A’s have suffered, he’ll get some at-bats at DH while Piazza is out and join the outfield rotation down in Oakland. The fact that Beane likes Doyle should be obvious – he can hit, he draws walks, he plays hard, and he was free. Beane looked at the things he can do to help a team and saw a potentially valuable player that cost him nothing.
Injuries have indeed taken a toll of Chris Snelling, and he’s unlikely to have the all-star career we all hoped he would have as he was coming up through the system. We know this. At this point, he’s probably a nifty role player, a guy who can help a team but shouldn’t be counted on as the everyday answer for a contending team. But our Doyle love was never just only about Snelling as a player and a person, but about what he stood for, and still does.
The dual Snelling trades over the last six months are a perfect contrast of two organizations. The Mariners fail to understand market dynamics or get beyond batting average and strikeouts when evaluating a player and make a disgusting deal that limits the franchise’s ability to contend both now and in the future. The A’s exploit the market, identify a player who is more useful than his current organization believes, and pick up a potentially useful player for nothing.
Doyle isn’t going to make the difference between the A’s and Mariners winning the AL West this year, next year, or any year. It’s what Doyle stands for. The A’s are an organization of smart, baseball savvy people who are constantly looking for any small advantage they can get over their competition in an effort to win every single year. The Mariners are an organization that throws money at bad players because of their incompetency and get taken to the cleaners by people who are better at their jobs than they are.
Doyle represents the different states of the Mariners and the A’s. I only hope that someday soon, the M’s may employ people who can turn those dynamics upside down.