FLB: Athletics preview

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The "Moneyball" strategy apparently works. Billy Beane, the Oakland general manager who was the focus of that well-publicized 2003 book, continued to keep his Athletics competitive in 2005. The A's won 88 games and finished second in the American League West despite trading two-thirds of the Big Three, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, last offseason.

Look at Beane's track record; Oakland has averaged 92 wins and won three division titles under his watch, finishing no lower than second in every year but his first (1998). Before Beane came on board, the A's were a sub-.500 team for five consecutive seasons, including a 97-loss season in 1997, winning 44.2 percent of their games from 1993-97.