Billy Beane seems to be getting more and more away from the "Moneyball" philosophy. How else to explain Oakland’s signing of free agent Shannon Stewart, a speed player who doesn’t draw a lot of walks and doesn’t hit with the power that a team might prefer from a corner outfielder. Stewart doesn’t figure to be any more than a fourth or fifth outfielder on a team that already has Mark Kotsay, Milton Bradley, and Nick Swisher available to play everyday, but I can’t imagine Beane having signed this guy at all three or four years ago.
Based on Oakland’s mediocre offense and its lack of power and walks up and down the lineup, it does seem that Beane has changed his philosophy in order to have better defensive players in the field. Yet, Stewart doesn’t really help there either; his throwing arm is so poor that he’s a liability at any of the outfield position. Even Stewart’s once potent ability to steal bases has been diminished. He hasn’t reached double figures in steals since 2002, so it’s debatable what exactly he can provide for the A’s in 2007.