Doolittle proving A’s right yet again 

click to enlarge Reliever Sean Doolittle has moved into the closer role for the A’s. - TONY GUTIERREZ/AP FILE PHOTO
  • Tony Gutierrez/ap file photo
  • Reliever Sean Doolittle has moved into the closer role for the A’s.

When the A's bestowed upon Sean Doolittle the longest guarantee they'd given a Green-and-Golder since Eric Chavez, eyebrows temporarily arched.

Then the terms came out: five years, a relatively modest $10.5 million.

Then everyone remembered that Billy Beane runs the A's. Then everyone remembered that Doolittle's story is the kind of fantastic tale -- still very much in the early stages, by the way -- that typically ends up in the wastebasket of the Tinseltown executive who scoffed its author out of his or her office after a blind pitch.

Eyebrows, stand down. It's Oakland baseball. This is how they roll.

Beane practically patented the practice of identifying young, still-under-club-control studs on the verge of blowing up and offering them several years of security and a fat raise in exchange for the wild uncertainty and a potentially 10-times-fatter raise in free agency.

That's what he did with Doolittle, just as he did frequently way back in the Giambi-Tejada-Big Three Era. And he'll do it over and over and over with young studs to come. He has to.

He'd do it even if he had a limitless payroll. It's in the man's DNA to be creatively, fiscally sound.

The Doolittle deal is different only in that it involves the man with the very best backstory of the current era, and that's saying quite something.

If the A's were a beer, they'd be Dos Equis. The Most Interesting Man in the World should be Bob Melvin's bench coach.

(Anyone else agree that Melvin comes off as very uninteresting in public? Don't be fooled. Beane doesn't hang with paint chips.)

Doolittle's story in a nutshell: Drafted as a projected corner-infield slugger. Injuries. Considers quitting. Sticks with it -- as a pitcher. Instant success in the minors. Quick ascension to the big leagues. Success there, too. Climbs bullpen ladder into setup role, lands long-term deal, shortly thereafter climbs the final rung of the ladder to closer, which had been reserved for a guy making $10 million for one year.

Oh, and he's a world-class impressionist painter with dual degrees in social work and infectious-disease control.

Ok, that last sentence isn't true. But hell, why not?

I may not always watch baseball, but when I do, I prefer to watch the A's.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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