Beane Extends His Stay With A's

The man behind "Moneyball" will remain the man in front of the Oakland A's for at least eight more seasons.

General manager Billy Beane has been given a contract extension that will run through 2019, team owner Lew Wolff said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Team president Mike Crowley will get an identical extension, and both Beane and Crowley are expected to sign their deals within 30 days, according to Wolff.

"I view them as partners as well as executives," Wolff told Bloomberg Television. "So if they are here another 30 years, that is fine with me. I may not be here to see it, but that will be fine.

Beane, a 49-year-old former big-league outfielder who is a minority of the team, has been the Athletics' general manager since October 1997. He gained fame outside the baseball world when his approach to team-building was the focus of Michael Lewis' bestseller, "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game." The book was turned into a movie last year, with Brad Pitt playing Beane.

After posting a losing season in Beane's first year at the helm, the small-payroll A's had eight consecutive winning seasons from 1999-2006. They made five playoff appearances in that stretch and reached the 2006 AL Championship Series, in which they were swept by the Detroit Tigers. Starting in 2007, however, the A's have reeled off five consecutive seasons without a winning record, finishing at the .500 mark only once.

Beane's method of focusing on undervalued talent has come in for criticism in recent years. Many of his trades that have sent away established players for minor league prospects have failed to pay off.

Compounding the problems on the field have been the team's low attendance and poor public image. Wolff has long stated a desire to move the team to San Jose, angering many of the team's long-time Oakland supporters.

Manager Bob Melvin knows that the A's will have less experience going into the 2012 season than they did last year. He'll have a lot of young pitchers, and the lineup, with two weeks to go until camp, is lacking in power.

However, Melvin told reporters at the team's recent FanFest that he does not like the term "rebuilding" and he does not plan to use it. Melvin said that he believes that all big-league teams have one job to do: win. He plans to prepare his club to do just that.

With the A's in a suddenly much fiercer division -- the beefed up Angels figure to challenge the two-time AL champion Rangers -- Oakland's players are also aware that they are not going to be picked as potential favorites, unlike last year.

The A's, however, plan to embrace the underdog role. New outfielder Jonny Gomes has talked a lot about the 2008 Rays team he played on that went from last place to the World Series. Likely Opening Day starter Brandon McCarthy said that even though the A's are the dark horse in the AL West, they could come together and have success if things were to break right.

"We could win 60 games, or we could win 90 games," McCarthy said at FanFest.

The Athletics' power issues could get a notable answer: The team is expected to be in the running for designated hitter Manny Ramirez, with owner Lew Wolff and assistant general manager David Forst both expressing interest in the free agent. Ramirez would have to sit out the first 50 games for violating baseball's banned-substance policy.

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