Billy Beane is planning to stay in the Bay Area for the long haul.
Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff said Tuesday that the team has agreed to extend the contracts of the general manager as well as team President Michael Crowley through the 2019 season. Wolff, confirming comments first made on Bloomberg Television, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that the deals are in the process of being finalized.
Wolff is counting on Beane’s leadership and innovation to lead the club in a new stadium in the San Jose area.
The franchise needs approval from Major League Baseball to move to the south bay, where the San Francisco Giants hold territorial rights to the technology-rich region filled with fans and corporate dollars. The A’s are hoping for a resolution to the long-standing dispute soon.
Beane and Crowley hold small ownership stakes in the team. Crowley took over as team president at the end of the 1998 season.
Beane has been Oakland’s general manager since 1997. He is the subject of Michael Lewis’ 2003 book on baseball statistics and economics titled ”Moneyball,” which was made into a film starring Brad Pitt as Beane last year.
Beane bucked the baseball trend of relying on the common trio of statistics – batting average, home runs and RBIs for hitters; wins, losses and ERA for pitchers – and instead turned to hard numbers over subjective scouting to fuel his team’s successful runs in the early 2000s. His staff helped usher in what became known as the stats revolution, a complete overhaul from the early days of the basic boxscore, the premise behind the best-selling book that immortalized Beane beyond the Bay Area.
The movie focuses on the 2002 edition of the self-described blue-collar Athletics and a thrilling 20-game winning streak. Ultimately, Oakland lost in the first round of the playoffs.
That 2002 run was the third of four straight playoff appearances for the A’s, but little has stayed the same since. Oakland finished 74-88 last year, the fifth losing season in a row.
Without a deal to move out of the outdated Oakland Coliseum, the A’s have said they can’t compete with large-market clubs. Oakland shed several of its best players this winter – including top starters Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey – in the latest payroll purge.
The 49-year-old Beane is still considered among baseball’s best general managers – but far from the genius he once was considered to be – and there was even chatter last summer that he might head to the Cubs to replace Jim Hendry. Instead, former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein took over on Chicago’s north side.