Beane, Sabean surveying landscape

Originally Published: July 21, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Michael Lewis devotees aren't the only ones waiting for Oakland general manager Billy Beane to go "Moneyball" before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Beane routinely finds messages in his in-box from Brian Cashman, Paul DePodesta and other colleagues who good-naturedly prod him about his plans for the Athletics.

Beane's mind is always racing with possibilities, and it's a hoot riding shotgun. "I know you're up to something," Cashman wrote him in a recent email, as if Beane might actually reveal what.

Beane is pathologically disinclined to let a major trade pass without working his way into the discussions. He spotted an opening during the recent Houston-Kansas City trade talks, quickly got involved, and managed to obtain a closer in Octavio Dotel as part of a three-way transaction. But that was back in the stone age -- June 24, to be exact.

Now the deadline is 10 days away, and Beane hasn't even elicited a mention as a possible partner in a Randy Johnson three-way. He even spent the All-Star break going fly-fishing to relax and recharge. Either he's slipping, or it's a slow summer on the dealing desk.

Truth is, Beane doesn't even consider himself the slickest operator in the Bay Area, much less the major leagues. He awards that designation to Giants GM Brian Sabean, who keeps a tighter lid on things and is better at springing surprises.

"We usually have a lot of teams involved when we do it, so everybody kind of figures it out," Beane said. "Brian does it with much more stealth. His dorsal fin is always below the surface."

While it's hard to say if Beane or Sabean will make an impact move between now and July 31, recent history tells you it won't be for lack of imagination or effort.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer