A's extend deals for Beane, Crowley

A's extend deals for Beane, Crowley

HOUSTON -- When Lew Wolff took over as A's owner and managing partner on April 1, 2005, one of his priorities was creating stability within the organization.

He redoubled his efforts in that regard Wednesday by extending the contracts of team president Mike Crowley and vice president/general manager Billy Beane through the 2014 season.

"Mike and Billy were my first free-agent signings, and both continue to demonstrate their talents as two of the finest executives in the sports industry today," Wolff said in a club statement. "I am very pleased their relationship with the A's will continue during one of the most exciting and important times in our team's history."

One of Wolff's first moves with Oakland was to give Beane, who took over as GM in October 1997, and Crowley, who was named president in September 1998, a piece of the ownership pie.

"It all starts at the top, and any opportunity to continue to work with Lew and the rest of the people here makes me feel very fortunate, very lucky," Beane said by phone Wednesday evening. "I've always been fortunate to have stability in this organization, and now I have more.

"I think the best is yet to come for all of us."

Assistant GM David Forst, who is in Houston for Oakland's Interleague series against the Astros, praised the move even though it appears to delay what many assume will be his eventual ascension to the GM job.

"Lew has created stability here, and to increase that is good for the whole organization," Forst said. "Having Billy and Mike in this organization is good for everybody long-term."

Crowley, 43, has developed Oakland's business model and is involved with all aspects of the organization's business affairs, including finance, sales, marketing, public relations and community affairs. According to the club's release, he also is playing "a key role in the development and implementation of Cisco Field, the future home of the A's."

Beane, 45, has built the A's into a perennial contender since taking over for former GM Sandy Alderson. Through Tuesday, the A's had compiled an 859-661 (.565) record in Beane's nine-plus seasons as GM -- the fourth-best record in the Majors during that time -- and earned a spot in the postseason five times in the last seven seasons, winning four American League West titles (2000, 2002-03 and 2006) and securing one AL Wild Card spot (2001).

"I talked to [Beane] today, and he didn't even mention it," A's manager Bob Geren said at Minute Maid Park. "But I think it's great. And well-deserved."

Beane has frequently and openly discussed his interest in a career outside of baseball, and he's grown increasingly fascinated by the world of soccer. He suggested Wednesday that his commitment to the organization actually might allow him to go in that direction at some point while still with the A's.

"First and foremost, we're a baseball team, and I still love doing what I do and I still have a passion for baseball," he said. "But one of the things I love about being here is that we're always looking to grow the enterprise, and it's no secret that we're interested in bringing a [Major League Soccer] franchise back to the Bay Area. I don't want to be presumptuous, but the great thing about being with Lew is that there's a chance to grow internally."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.