Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane was named Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year by the Sporting News after his team rallied from a 13-game deficit to clinch a division title on the last day of the season.
Beane, an Athletics’ vice president whose philosophy of evaluating players was the topic of the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis, received 31 of 57 votes cast by major league executives to earn the award that has been handed out since 1936, Sporting News said on its website. The A’s began the season 29th of 30 teams in the major leagues with a $55 million payroll, according to USA Today’s annual survey.
“Our division suggested with the Angels and Rangers that they were two of the best teams in the game, but we also felt we were better than people thought,” said Beane, who was presented with the award two days ago during general managers’ meetings in Indian Wells, California. “We just didn’t know how good.”
During the last offseason, Oakland parted ways with starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez, who went on to go 21-8 for the Washington Nationals, and Trevor Cahill, as well as closer Andrew Bailey. Those trades brought in outfielder Josh Reddick, who hit 32 home runs and had 85 runs batted in, pitchers Ryan Cook, Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone, as well as catcher Derek Norris.
Beane also outbid others for Yoenis Cespedes, who defected from Cuba and is a finalist for American League Rookie of the Year honors, and brought in first baseman Brandon Moss, outfielder Jonny Gomes, third baseman Brandon Inge, shortstop Stephen Drew and pitchers Travis Blackley and Pat Neshek.
By the end of the campaign, the A’s, who trailed the Texas Rangers by 13 games on June 30, were using five rookie starters. The club won its final six games to clinch the AL West with a 94-68 record, rallying from a 5-1 deficit against the Rangers in a regular-season finale to win 12-5 and take the division by one game.
At the All-Star break the A’s were given 100-1 odds of winning the division title, according to R.J. Bell of Pregame.com. It took a 51-25 record after the break, the best in baseball, to accomplish the feat.
Voting on the award took place before the postseason. The Athletics were beaten in five games by the Detroit Tigers in a best-of-five division series.