Trading for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel AND Jon Lester? Who have a combined salary of $26.5 million? Evidently, Athletics general manager Billy Beane has tweaked his "Moneyball" strategy just a bit, as you'll see in this previously-undisclosed script for "Moneyball 2" (still in development) ...
(SCENE 1: Oakland general manager BILLY BEANE is running on a treadmill at the Oakland Coliseum and watching video of the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2012 and 2013 division series. He frowns and shakes his head as the Athletics lose the potential clinching game of each. Assistant PETER BRAND, looking much heavier than in the first movie, walks into the gym.)
PETER: I see you're working out again while we play.
BILLY: Don't be afraid to hop on a treadmill yourself, Peter. Good Lord. I don't think you could even fit into Jeremy Brown's jeans -- let alone Fabio's.
PETER: Thanks a lot, Billy. It's hard to keep the weight off when you spend your entire day at a ballpark staring at a computer screen.
BILLY: And your entire night hanging with the Wolf of Wall Street.
PETER: Nice. But what about you? Why are you watching highlight video of old losses? We have the best record in baseball. Why focus on the negative?
BILLY: We might have the best record in baseball, but if we lose the last game of the season, no one gives a s---. We have one of the best records in baseball since 2000, yet we haven't so much as won a single ALCS game. We've lost six division series and gone 1-12 in our past 13 clinching games. We can't lose again. We have to adjust. We need to add a difference-maker.
PETER: I think we can sign Chad Bradford pretty cheap. He hasn't pitched in five years, but he's still undervalued.
BILLY: No, Peter. Signing undervalued talent has worked great for us in the past, but we don't need undervalued players right now. We need players who are very valuable. I'm not saying we should rip up our approach by any means, but we need players who will make us winners in October. We need someone such as Jeff Samardzija or Jon Lester. Or better yet, both.
PETER: On our budget? How would we pay them? By raising the price of soda in the clubhouse to $4 a can?
BILLY: You know that was just a silly plot device for that "Moneyball" movie. Saying players had to buy soda from a machine in the clubhouse was as unbelievable and ridiculous as making a movie about the keys to the 2002 Athletics success and never mentioning Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Miguel Tejada or Eric Chavez.
But enough about 2002. We need to get moving on convincing teams to deal us some established stars who will bring us a championship in 2014.
PETER: So I'm guessing hiring Jon Hamm to scout pitchers in India is a no-go?
(SCENE 2: BILLY is meeting with PETER and his scouts several weeks before the trade deadline.)
BILLY: OK, we're in first place, but winning the division is not enough. We need to win in October -- which has been a problem for us. How can we solve this problem?
SCOUT 1: More pitching. We should go after Minnesota's Kevin Correia.
BILLY: Kevin Correia? He's 5-13 with a 5.14 ERA. He's not going to solve our problem.