Friday, January 20, 2006

Athletics Nation interviews Billy Beane

Great interview, as always, from Blez at Athletics Nation.

Part I here.
Part II here.
Part III here.

Some quick notes:
On the 2005 season: "...we achieved what we wanted to achieve. That was to become a younger team, and this next statement is kind of redundant from me, but whose future was brighter than its past."

On Dan Haren's performance: "I don't know that I've ever seen a young guy mature into a major league pitcher so quickly. "

Regarding Joe Blanton: "He has a linebacker's mentality on the mound. He's a quiet guy off the field, but an aggressive pitcher on the mound and the belief is that he took this year and I don't think any of us expected it and I think it's a real testament."

Why they took so many high school pitchers in the draft: "We just felt like there was a lot of value in the high school pitcher and that's why we drafted so many after that round. As far as their experience and our evaluation of that draft, I think we were very excited about the kids we got. As far as raw ability, this is as good a group of power arms as we've had in a long, long time. We've had a tendency of drafting the very polished college pitcher and we've had success doing that, we just didn't feel like those guys were out there when we were drafting this year. "

Why they acquired Esteban Loaiza: "He provides innings, he strikes guys out and since he's developed that cut fastball in the last couple of years he's been a completely different guy. We found out last year that not having depth in the rotation can be very difficult on our franchise."

Joking about Swisher at 1B as his "double agent": "If you know Nick, having someone to talk to is a prerequisite for his sanity. So having him at first base, he can work as a double agent for us. He's going to want to talk and he'll drive people nuts. They won't want to get to first base if he's there. (laughing)"

On nabbing Antonio Perez in the Bradley deal: " It was important. We really like Antonio. We like his bat. This is a young middle infielder and it was prerequisite of the deal."

On letting go of Hatteberg: "I just think so highly of him as a person as well as a baseball player. As far as the front office goes, Scott has the ability to do so much when he's done playing. He wants to keep playing and I think he will. But with a guy like Scott, he could probably come in and do anything he wanted to and we'd welcome him in with open arms."

Read the whole thing.


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