Will Billy Beane Be An Athletic Forever?

It sure looks like Billy Beane will be running the Oakland A's well into the future. But will he hang around even if the franchise doesn't get a new ballpark? We might be surprised.

Earlier today, we presented a report that Billy Beane has a new contract extension. But it seems that nothing's official quite yet, as Tuesday afternoon Susan Slusser wrote:

It sounds as if the framework is in place for general manager Billy Beane and team president Michael Crowley to remain with the A's through 2019. Owner Lew Wolff told Bloomberg News that the deals should be completed within 30 days, and Wolff told me in an email that the discussions are "in process." He also called it "good news."

Such lengthy extensions point to further optimism in the A's upper ranks about the team's chances of getting approval for a new stadium in San Jose. Considering how publicly frustrated Beane has been about the limitations of the Coliseum, both in terms of attracting free agents and in terms of income generated, I cannot imagine him staying with the club that long without a good idea that a new stadium is on the horizon.

Of course -- as Slusser notes -- Beane's new deal might include an out clause that would allow him to leave if the Athletics aren't heading for a new ballpark by a certain date.

I can imagine him staying with the club regardless, though. Hey, he's been there forever already. I'm sure there have been any number of times when he could have jumped ship to work for a better team, perhaps for better money. For whatever reason or reasons, the Bay Area just seems to be where Billy Beane wants to be. Which really isn't all that hard to figure. It's a great place to live, especially if you can afford one of the nicer neighborhoods.

Oh, and there's this: At last report, Billy Beane owned a small (four percent) stake in the franchise. A year ago, Forbes valued the Athletics at $307 million, which works out to about $12 million for Beane. Granted, if he left he could presumably sell his stake ... But if the A's move to San Jose, the value of the franchise will presumably increase significantly.

I wouldn't ignore the Moneyball Effect, either. Thanks to the book and especially the movie, Billy Beane has sort of become the Oakland A's ... and they, him. I can imagine that would be a difficult thing for someone to break from.

Slusser also raises the subject of David Forst's status; Forst has been Assistant General Manager since Paul DePodesta left the A's eight years ago. Will he stick around for another seven years in that position? I don't know, but I think the situation here is analogous to the Cubs' current setup, where Jed Hoyer has seemingly accepted a demotion -- if just unofficially -- to work under Theo Epstein. Apparently if the situation is right, some talented young men don't mind serving as No. 2 even while they could probably be No. 1 somewhere else. It's sort of like on TNG, where Riker often got to run the Enterprise while Picard was running around posing as a Vulcan or communicating purely in allegories for weeks on end.

Who knows. Maybe if Forst hangs around long enough, they'll even let him direct a few episodes. But not one of the feature films. Please God not one of the feature films.

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