Today, Billy Beane officially traded three lemons for an overripe, spotted banana.
Greg Smith is a lemon, because his peripheral stats suggest his 4.16 ERA probably should have been about a run higher than it was. Carlos Gonzalez is a lemon because while he is young and graceful and lovely to watch both at the plate and in the field, he has no clue how to control the strike zone, and probably never much will. Huston Street is a lemon, because he is a reliever with "closer" on his resume who is becoming increasingly expensive, increasingly injury-prone, and decreasingly effective. Matt Holliday is an overripe banana, because the A’s are building around a core of players who will mature in about 2012 or so, but Holliday, with only one year until free agency, needs to be consumed long before the maturity date of the other fruit in Billy Beane’s basket.
Aren’t you supposed to turn lemons into lemonade? Perhaps lemonade demand is high these days, and banana bread is the new market inefficiency. But even if that’s true, Billy Beane is still two cups of flour, a scoop of sugar, and a stick of butter shy of assembling all the ingredients in any known banana bread recipe. Matt Holliday probably makes the A’s about 4 wins better or so, but eating that banana raw still leaves the Athletics 5 to 8 wins shy of a playoff spot in 2009.
All of which is another way of saying, I have no idea why either the Rockies or the A’s made this trade. And, ladies and gentlemen, I have an important announcement to make: I don’t really care, either.
Oh, getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you, eh? Well, I’ll tell you something, my lad. When you’re walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after you with a bunch of loganberries, don’t come crying to me!
So be it. Loganberries be damned, I have decided, at long last, to stop trying to imagine myself as Billy Beane or Bob Geren or George Bush or Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to make all the great and important decisions of the world, and instead to just be Alfred E. Neuman. I shall no longer worry about being attacked by pomegranates or grapefruits or plums or lingonberries or mangoes in syrup. My life had become such a burden, what with all the guns and 16-ton weights and tigers I’ve been hauling around to protect myself from the outrages of mistaken decisions by those wielding the fruits of power. It is time to outsource those responsiblities.
In Billy Beane and Barack Obama, the A’s and the US of A’s leaders are seemingly both intelligent, pragmatic men who will avoid quick reactions from their guts, carefully consider all the empirical evidence, and make their decisions as rationally as they can. I may disagree with elements of their overall philosophy and with their individual decisions, but I believe I can finally say in both cases that I don’t think I could, on the whole, do a better job than they could.
Therefore, with relief, I hereby outsource my worries about the A’s and the USA, to Billy Beane and Barack Obama. The job is yours, guys, I’ll let you do it. Go ahead and trade for a slugger who won’t be sticking around to help the A’s win their next championship. Go ahead and send gazillions more dollars to General Motors and their incompetent management. Go ahead and overhaul the health care system using the advice of a man who sends scouts the world over and somehow can’t manage to find 25 healthy young men. I probably won’t understand any of those decisions in the slightest, but I’m fairly confident that you’ve thought it through, so I’ll trust your judgment. I’ll probably check in from time to time to make sure you’re not burning the toast, but mostly, you’re on your own from now on.
I shall now return to my life, to focus on bringing home the bacon from the fruits of my labor, and on enjoying more time with my wife and three daughters, the apples of my eye. Bon appetit, my friends.