Billy Beane has done it again. Frank Thomas has cleared waivers and will rejoin his old team, the Oakland A’s, for mere pennies:

The deal came together in a matter of hours Wednesday after Thomas cleared waivers…Oakland will be on the hook only for about $337,000 — a prorated share of the $390,000 league minimum — so this move was a bargain for general manager Billy Beane and a club looking to boost its power numbers.

Thomas will still get nearly $8 million this year from the Blue Jays.

This changes the picture a bit more in the AL West. A few renegade baseball watchers and some smart computers were already picking them as surprise division winners, but the addition of Frank Thomas makes them visibly more dangerous.

Billy Beane just continues to look even more like a crazy wizard genius with each move he makes. If he takes this team to the postseason after dumping both his best pitcher and his best hitter while getting another team to pay millions of dollars for his cleanup hitter…[whistles slowly]…damn. What do you think will happen?


No Responses to “Billy Beane scoops up Big Hurt for small dollars”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    That’s an interesting conclusion, Nick. I think it’s probably a combo of all these factors—the more savvy GMs don’t want Lohse because of sabermetrics, the old-school ones didn’t want him because of his craptastic “intangibles,” and the rest didn’t want him because they didn’t want to pay Scott Boras money to get him. Plus, the young talent available in baseball right now means that there’s only a weak inducement to overcome these hesitations and sign him.

    It’s like a perfect storm designed to screw over Kyle Lohse.

    As for what is “fair market value,” some would say that “market value” for anything is what the market pays for it. The market only paid 4.25 million for Lohse, thus that *is* his market value.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, I don’t know. All the reports say that the Phillies offered Lohse 3 years, $21 million, which Boras turned down. So obviously the market for Lohse was not necessarily locked in at $4.25 million. I think obviously there was also some Boras-Lohse stupidity, but then again, it’s hard to blame them if they looked at the Carlos Silva contract and said, wow, we can get more than this…

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, I don’t know. All the reports say that the Phillies offered Lohse 3 years, $21 million, which Boras turned down. So I don’t think the market for Lohse was necessarily locked in at $4.25 million. Obviously, I think there was also some Boras-Lohse stupidity, but then again, it’s hard to blame them if they looked at the Carlos Silva contract and said, wow, we can get more than this…

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Well, I also think that sometimes, baseball contracts aren’t pegged to any sort of reality, as I’ve mentioned before. They just seem sort of random. I guess if this can happen “up,” such as when players are way overpaid, then it can also happen “down,” as it may have happened in the case of Lohse.

  5. To be fair, Mozeliak is one that is comfortable with at least some of the sabermetric principles. But being that the Cardinals already have four pitchers under contract that they expect to come back from injury this year, I think he’s saying he’d rather have had some of them healthy than having to go out and spend money on a pitcher that might be replaced by year’s end.

  6. Paul Moro says:

    I haven’t been following this too closely – but how badly must have Boras pissed Philly off? At one time, they were willing to pay $21m. Did Boras not go back to them because he was scared it would hurt his pride? Did he give Philly a chance to top St. Louis’ offer and they declined?

  7. You make very logical points, but having witnessed the Kyle Lohse era in Minnesota, I can say that he got exactly what he deserved. Sabermetrics can be a useful tool, but gut instinct needs to be used on Lohse. He’s a classic underachiever who will kill a team when they need him most. Good value or not, that’s a wicked intangible.

  8. Lyle Kohse (as we called him in MN) is also prone to fits of attacking the door to the manager’s office with a baseball bat. Have fun with that!

  9. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, I think Boras just way overestimated Lohse, and way overestimated his own skill. He thought he could leverage Philly up with another offer—the classic Boras tactic. When he didn’t get one, Philly realized their mistake, took their ball, and went home.

    Regarding intangibles versus sabermetrics, maybe that classic debate doesn’t apply here. This Lohse situation is just a typical conundrum faced by any business—not just the baseball business. If you’re running a company, and you have the option of hiring a guy who has decent but not remarkable skills and who is sort of an ass to boot, would you hire him? Probably not. You certainly wouldn’t guarantee him $21 million. I know baseball execs aren’t usually this logical, but let’s not overthink this one.

  10. Coley Ward says:

    I think Pat Gillick was given a set amount of money to spend this offseason. In December, he offered it to Lohse, who turned it down. So, instead, Gillick gave it to Pedro Feliz. Then, when Lohse came back to accept the offer, the money was all gone.

    Of course, I still can’t believe the Phillies, who are looking at a rotation that includes the struggling Kyle Kendrick and mind-bogglingly bad Adam Eaton couldn’t scrape together an extra $5 million for one year of Lohse.

  11. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, I’m amazed the Phillies couldn’t scrap something together to sign Lohse in the end, especially with that injury to Lidge which threatens to send Myers back into the pen. I can only assume something must have become irrevocably broken in the relationship between Lohse/Boras and the Phillies. Like maybe Gillick said “you either take this offer now or we won’t talk to you again” or something.

  12. I think you’re missing part of what happened – Lohse/Boras either wanted to cash in like Silva, or get a 1 year contract so he can try to cash in again next year.

    It’s quite possible that no one else offered a 1 year contract. Apparently even the Cardinals wanted an option for another year.

    And it would be a sign of weakness for future negotiations if Boras let him sign with Philly for that cheap, even for a year, after getting (from his point of view) an insulting 3 year offer. The Cardinals didn’t have any real interest in Lohse until Pineiro went down.

  13. Sarah Green says:

    JeremyR, I think you make a good point. A one-year deal would be preferable from the Boras POV, once the big deal failed to pan out.

  14. Paul Moro says:

    Jeremy, I disagree.

    In the ideal world, I think GMs would want all players signed to a one-year deal with an unlimited amount of team-controlled option years. No one wants to guarantee multiple years if they could avoid it. But really, they have no choice for the most part.

    But in this instance, teams had that chance to offer a one-year deal which is something that all GMs should be looking for as long as there’s no no-trade clause. They just didn’t. And that’s what I don’t get.

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