The Oakland Athletics, coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent years, on Monday rewarded general manager Billy Beane a three-year contract extension through the 2005 season.
Beane, working with just a $22.8 million payroll, was able to put together a team that finished second to the Texas Rangers in the AL West and challenged the Boston Red Sox for a wild-card playoff spot. The A's had not contended for a playoffs since 1992.
Beane assembled a team of promising young talent, including outfielder Ben Grieve, infielder Eric Chavez and pitcher Tim Hudson, with seasoned veterans thought to be at the end of their careers, including slugger John Jaha and utilityman Tony Phillips.
Oakland finished with the best home record in the AL (52-29) and posted the league's third-best ERA (4.69).
Beane, 37, joined the A's as an advance scout in 1990 and became assistant general manager in 1993. Beane was responsible for signing such minor league players as outfielder Matt Stairs and pitcher Bill Taylor, who was traded to the New York Mets.
There had been speculation that Seattle and other teams might try to hire away Beane.
"The Oakland A's organization and fans are lucky to have one of the brightest minds in baseball calling the shots," A's owner Steve Schott said.
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