The Oakland Athletics are partially responsible for the Moneyball revolution, in which front offices seek to conserve payroll by finding undervalued talent. Now that bigger-market teams have caught on to the strategy, A’s executive vice president Billy Beane is a bit sick of it.
“It’s a problem for the rest of the league when two of the biggest-market teams adopt the same kind of model and have the ability to do it better than small-market teams,” Beane told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal regarding the hot performances of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. “They didn’t get lucky. They realized even the smallest transactions were very important. It makes dealing with (Yankees general manager Brian Cashman) a pain in the ass. And you can quote me on that.”
Despite having 16 different players hit the injured list since the beginning of the 2019 season – including staff ace Luis Severino as well as superstars Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton – the Yankees find themselves 24-16, a half-game back of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays.
Beane recalled a time when he used to tease Cashman, saying his rival’s dream was “to run the Yankees like a small-market team.” In an offseason where the Yankees had a chance to sign marquee free agents like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, Cashman and the front office opted for depth in the lineup, rotation, and bullpen.
Now, players who weren’t there on Opening Day are playing an integral role in the Yankees’ success.
|Players not on Opening Day roster||WAR|
Along with these key additions to the lineup, Domingo German has proven to be a crucial part of the rotation after taking Luis Cessa‘s spot on Opening Day. The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 2.70 ERA and 3.25 FIP through seven starts.
DJ LeMahieu – signed in the offseason as a depth piece – has filled in as a starter due to injuries to Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Andujar, and Didi Gregorius. The 30-year-old second baseman is hitting .333/.384/.452 with a pair of home runs through 36 games.
Six months ago, the 100-win Yankees and 97-win Athletics met in the American League wild-card game. The Bronx Bombers won 7-2 before being toppled by the eventual-champion Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.
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