So this article about their recent run of semi-success caught my attention.
But I've got to say that it's pretty misguided, on a fundamental level.
Over the past fourteen years of the financially-stingy Moneyball era, Oakland has played in six ALDS Game 5's and lost all six.
It’s taken a decade to realize that [Moneyball team-building] sinks like a stone in a flooded dugout in the postseason.
And, frankly, that's a silly thing to say. To start with, judging success or failure in baseball on six games is ludicrous. Luck dominates over that time span. Try picking six games out of a player's season, and see how representative they are of the whole season. It would, of course, be possible, ex post facto, to pick ones that would, but randomly picking, that would be very unlikely.
Plus, there's the fact that they did get to Game Five of all those series; they were no blown out in any of them. They belonged in each of those games. If you're going to say "Moneyball can't compete", you need to show that they didn't even belong in those games.
Muddying the issue even further were that it took very flukish plays to not win two of those games. Giambi not sliding, and the catcher not being called for runner's interference for blocking the plate without having the ball.
That's what Beane meant, when he said that "His shit doesn't work in the postseason"; not that it wouldn't work, but that all the good work in the world can still have you losing to an inferior team in a short series (and even seven games is really a short series).
For an even more extreme example, look at the 2001 Mariners. Unbelievably good team, playing to its potential that year, and they still lost the division series. It happens; the A's have been very unlucky. They'll get over the hump.
Also, if you want to look at another example, look at the Rays. Their payroll hasn't been terribly higher than the A's, and they've gotten past the division series. So it's absurd to say that the A's can't advance.
It sucks, I know (believe me, as a Caps fan, boy, do I know), but it happens.