OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Athletics general manager Billy Beane, the architect behind Oakland's four division titles since 2000, was rewarded with a seven-year contract extension Wednesday.
Team president Michael Crowley also received a seven-year extension from A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff, who lauded both men for their work with the club.
The A's reached the AL championship series last season, getting swept in four games by the Detroit Tigers.
``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 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.''
The A's have the fourth-best record in baseball and have been to the postseason five times in seven seasons since Beane was hired in 1997. Oakland has remained competitive despite being in a small market with an aging, multipurpose stadium, the Coliseum. That has forced the A's to watch big-name stars leave town for large-market clubs in free agency. Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder are among those who left Oakland.
The A's financial situation nearly led Beane to leave town in 2003, when he was offered the general manager job in Boston. Beane opted to stay in Oakland and was given a lucrative extension in 2005 when Wolff, who had just purchased the team at the time, also gave Beane and Crowley small ownership stakes in the club.
Beane's innovative approach that focuses on developing talent from the farm system and unique methods of scouting and player evaluation was the subject of the best-selling book ``Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.''
Crowley, 43, is in his ninth year as president of the A's. He primarily handles the business side of operations and is a key figure in the team's efforts to build a new stadium in nearby Fremont.

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