OAKLAND, Calif. -- Billy Beane just wanted to explore what might have been a golden career opportunity.
In the end, his best bet was staying put in Oakland.
The Athletics' general manager withdrew from consideration for the same job with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night, ending a whirlwind weekend in which he was widely expected to leave.
''He left a very attractive offer on the table,'' A's spokesman Jim Young said. ''He felt he belonged in Oakland and obviously we couldn't be happier.''
The A's scheduled a news conference for Monday morning to discuss his reasoning for remaining with the small-market team he has built into a perennial playoff contender.
Earlier Sunday, a baseball source had told The Associated Press the deal was all but done, saying Beane had agreed to become Boston's GM provided the teams could settle on compensation.
Beane received a three-year contract extension with the A's earlier this year that takes him through 2008, and Oakland would have expected extensive compensation for releasing him from the deal.
The AL West champion A's already let manager Art Howe leave for the New York Mets without compensation this offseason.
Howe was replaced by former bench coach Ken Macha, who was pleased to hear Beane will still be his boss.
''He's a very hot commodity and very well respected,'' Macha said Sunday night from his Pittsburgh-area home. ''He does a great job as general manager and I think as long as he's at peace with what he's doing, it's good for the Oakland A's."
''The things he's done out in Oakland have drawn attention to him. He deserves a lot of the credit for everything that happens there. I look forward to working with him.''
The opportunity to move from the team with the sixth lowest payroll last year to baseball's second-biggest spender was obviously attractive to Beane. The Red Sox also have a rabid fan base and a rich tradition, while the A's lousy crowds in the playoffs last month caused Beane to wonder whether area fans were ''spoiled.''
Beane has a teenage daughter who lives in Southern California.
After the season, owner Steve Schott said it would take an awful lot for him to give up Beane. He originally denied the Red Sox permission to speak to the 40-year-old Beane. But Beane convinced Schott to let him hear out the wealthy Red Sox, whose contract offer was likely several times what Beane could hope to make in Oakland.
Calls to Beane on Sunday night were not immediately returned.
Beane was identified as one of the top candidates for the Red Sox job ever since Dan Duquette was fired in spring training and replaced by interim GM Mike Port. Once the season was over and Boston's search for a permanent replacement began, the team asked to speak to Beane but the A's never formally responded to the request.
Officials from both teams confirmed Saturday that the Red Sox had been given permission to speak with Beane after being put off on that request for weeks.
The A's have won 100 or more games for two straight seasons and made the playoffs the last three years, losing in the first round each time.
In 2002, Oakland won 103 games and the AL West but lost to Minnesota in the first round of the AL playoffs. The A's also had an AL-record 20-game winning streak.
Other candidates for the Red Sox job include Port, Orioles adviser Mike Flanagan, Philadelphia assistant GM Mike Arbuckle, New York Mets assistant GM Jim Duquette, Cincinnati director of player personnel Leland Maddox, former Chicago White Sox general manager Ron Schueler, and Port's special assistant, Lee Thomas. Duquette is Dan Duquette's cousin.
Beane joined the A's front office in 1990 as an advance scout. He became an assistant general manager under Sandy Alderson in 1993.
Beane played six years in the majors with the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers and A's. He was a reserve on the 1989 World Series champion A's team, his final season as a player.
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