The Oakland A’s have fired manager Bob Geren and hired Bob Melvin to take his place on an interim basis. General Manager Billy Beane relieved Geren of his duties today after the team lost their ninth straight game last night.
On one hand it’s difficult to justify blame falling on the manager for this season’s disappointing results when the team’s pitching staff, by far it’s biggest strength, was decimated by injuries to Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz, Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Brett Anderson, not to mention Rich Harden. So, unless new manager Bob Melvin is able to heal shoulders and elbows with some heretofore unknown technique, I’m not sure exactly sure what the A’s are hoping for with a managerial change.
On the other hand, Geren’s reputation for bullpen mismanagement reared its ugly head earlier this season with public criticism from A’s interim closer Brian Fuentes:
There’s just no communication. Two games on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven’t stretched, I haven’t prepared myself,” he explained. “If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game — which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed.
It’s been widely reported that despite getting over their differences in public, Fuentes and the rest of the team have been at odds with Geren for the entire season.
Making matters even more difficult is that Beane and Geren are known to be close friends. However, in more than four seasons with the Athletics, Geren has led the team to a 334-376 record, including this year’s disappointing 27-36, finding them in last place in the AL West. That’s right, my pick to win the AL West this year are worse off than the Mariners and Angels.
Bob Melvin was working with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a special baseball advisor before getting the call from Beane. Melvin was named the National League Manager of the Year while with the Dbacks in 2007.