It is official. Billy Beane traded Huston Street, Greg Smith and Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies for Matt Holliday.
Make no doubt that Billy, a slave to Pythagoras in the RobNeyerian Orthodox manner, believes that the American League West can be had. He obviously subscribes to the wonkish theory that the Angels' 100-Win record was produced by luck and cannot be replicated.
If Beane is using Seattle 07-08 as a model, he is distinctly missing out on the fact that the '07 Mariners over-performed while completely healthy while the '08 Angels over-performed with a host of injuries to key players.
In addition to forcing the Angels to instinctively spend more money on free agent pickups, this challenges Texas and Seattle to go out on a limb as well. Beane knows any strong club in the division will beat up on the Halos as much as they will challenge his Mathletics game by game.
Holliday's numbers outside of Denver are below league average. In the Al Davis Colliseum, they will likely be terrible. But the guy is in his prime and in a contract year and the Great White Hope Holliday may actually be able to put together a decent season. Couple this with the chance that Mark Teixeira will not be re-signing with the Angels and you have one offense prrobably gettting better while the other is likely going to suffer if one or both of Kendry Morales and Brandon Wood cannot rise to the occasion of being everyday major leaguers.
But the gamble on Beane's part goes to the heart of statisitcal measurements - was the Angels' won-loss record this year a fluke of luck in the team's favor? If the answer is YES, than the A's have better than a slim chance to capture the Division title,a chance that improves if the Angels recent ridisculously bad luck with injuries continues. But if the 2008 Angels record was an indicator of where they would be had they enjoyed ordinary health, than look for Beane to simply be trading Matt Holliday in July.