Dees warming up the premiership bullpen

Melbourne have approached this off-season similar to the Oakland Athletics baseball team did in 2002. Draft experience based on premiership success and career stats. For those of you un-aware of what I am talking about, I am talking about the movie Moneyball based on a true story. 

Oakland drafted older experienced players who were seen as capable of delivering success. While there are some comparisons that cant be likened, such as the batting, pitching and fielding averages, in principle it is a similar story. 

One of the youngest and least successful sides in the AFL, Melbourne have looked to draft in players with experience and maturity, something that Melbourne have lacked since the Daniher era.

Oakland made the decisive decision of moving on experienced players who were chasing greater success through free agency and trades, a similar story to Melbourne moving on Cameron Bruce a few years back to Hawthorn and now Brent Moloney to Brisbane. 

Melbourne have acquired Shannon Byrnes and Chris Dawes, with a chance Farren Ray could join them; not to mention whoever else they target in the remaining week and a half. 

The active approach by Melbourne in the past two years is a welcome relief to the club who has previously focused on a ‘youth policy’ in the draft, ignoring the trade period unless gaining draft picks. 

Byrnes and Dawes bring to Melbourne premiership success and the understanding of what it takes to win a premiership and create a winning culture. This is something Melbourne have lacked for years. 

In what could be one of the best father/son steals since Gary Ablett Jr, the pick up of Jack Viney at a bargain pick 26 is a massive win. They have also secured the services of Jesse Hogan in the mini-draft, so it seems Melbourne have at least tried to make an impact this trade period.

If Melbourne can be as successful as Oakland were in securing big names in their early years, they might be able to pull out a premiership (something the A’s couldn’t quite do), and Mark Neeld could be coming to a theatre near you.

Find Jackson Baker on Twitter: @JacksonBaker9


2 thoughts on “Dees warming up the premiership bullpen

  1. Good read and comparison, I am curious of a few things though. What does drafting mean in Australian terms? In the U.S. the teams only draft players out of College and High School. So to an American reader the line “Oakland drafted older experienced players who were seen as capable of delivering success.” doesn’t quite translate.

    The Oakland A’s signed these veterans in free agency, as well traded their top “draft” prospects for the veterans.

    Also Oakland didn’t quite make the “decisive decision” on all of their established players, rather were forced due to the way Baseball operates it’s salary system.

    Simply put, their low budget did not allow them to sign the players to the big contracts they were offered by the big clubs. In 2002 Johnny Damon was offered $31 million from Boston, Jason Giambi $120 million from the New York Yankees, and Jason Isringhausen $27 million fro, St. Louis, in perspective the entire team salary for Oakland in 2001 was $33 million.

    To combat this their General Manager Billy Beane established the “Moneyball” concept from theories written about the game of baseball that were shunned prior to his application.

    It’s a good system, but it isn’t one that will win a team a championship, or premiership for that matter. At the end of the day, a balance of the “Moneyball system” and actually having a decent budget to work with is what will win championships. Every team in baseball now uses the saber-metric system when brining in new talent, but these teams have a lot more money to play with. That is why 2012 was the first time Oakland had been to the playoffs in quite a while ( 6 years).

  2. Hey Stefan, you’re right, there’s a bit of skew-iff in regard to the term drafting. I suppose in the AFL there are three periods where player movement occurs.

    The pre-season draft is basically unsigned older or unwanted players. A simpler, non damaging form of free agency. I suppose this is what Jackson meant by drafting. Of course, picks can be traded for players etc…

    Having watched Moneyball on the back of Jacko’s article, I can say that it was a pretty huge gamble. It’s a shame that salary caps in sports worldwide are generally not regulated and evened out. Leaves a team like the early 2000s A’s without much of a shot- though I admire Beanes courage.

    What Melbourne is trying to do (despite having the same cap as most teams) is bring in players to their young and inexperienced team, whom have tasted success- by either making finals, making a grand final, or winning a premiership. Their coach Mark Neeld also had little furores with players regarding tactics and game style, so he is most definitely bringing in guys that will fit around that.

    It will be interesting to watch Melbourne next season- they’ve been threatening to be there-abouts for a couple of years now, and this might be the push they needed.

    -Matt Walsh

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