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Billion-Dollar Billy Beane

Stashed in: Baseball, Moneyball, Billions!, Nate Silver, Mathy

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Fun feature that should be read by every kid who aspires to be a sports team manager. Posits that Billy Beane might have been worth an extra BILLION dollars to his team!

So even though he's never gotten the A's to the World Series, his style is still worth that much?

Beane’s methods continue to be analyzed and celebratedby sabermetricians, and the A’s continue to massively exceed expectations given the amount they spend. They own the best record in baseball so far this season, and have the fifth-lowest payroll.2 It’s the best 100-game start of Beane’s career, and the best for the organization since its 1990 pennant-winning squad. Over the last 15 seasons,3 the A’s under Beane have had the fifth-best winning percentage in baseball, with the fourth-lowest total payroll. (The data used here is current through Monday, July 21.)

Beane has been a godsend to the frugal A’s, enabling them to achieve top-tier performance at bottom-tier prices. For this, the A’s have paid him fairlymodestly 4 — but since we don’t know how much winning is worth to the A’s organization, it’s hard to say exactly how much Beane has been worth to them.

For a team like the Red Sox, however, the picture is much more clear. Over the last 15 years, they’ve happily spent over $2 billion dollars in the pursuit of wins — and because they’re one of baseball’s most successful franchises, no one in Beantown is complaining.

From a strictly economic perspective, not offering Beane however much money it took to get him may have been one of the Red Sox’s poorest decisions since letting Babe Ruth go to the Yankees for next to nothing. And I mean that literally: Over the past 15 years, Billy Beane has been nothing less than the Babe Ruth of baseball GMs. The Red Sox offered Beane $2.5 million per year,5 but even $25 million would have been a bargain.

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