Blog Entry

What About Bob?

Posted on: May 5, 2009 1:29 am
Edited on: May 6, 2009 12:06 am
 

A's Manager Infuriating Fan Base

If a loss was an actual statistic applied to the manager of your team, how many do you think he's accumulated so far? In Oakland, third year manager Bob Geren has already cost the team several games and fans are becoming impatient.

Hired in November of 2006, Geren replaced former Oakland skipper Ken Macha, who was fired when the A's failed to advance to the World Series after getting swept by the Tigers in the 2006 ALCS. The justifications behind the Macha firing were mainly explained by Macha's methods of communication with players and upper management. Most notably, Macha had called injured pitchers Rich Harden and Joe Kennedy "non-entities" and became frustrated when Mark Ellis didn't want to play through a hurt finger in the 2006 playoffs. He also was criticized for not communicating with bench players and had differing views from GM Billy Beane on several managerial issues.  However, Macha still managed to get results during his tenure as he was 355-268 during his four years in Oakland and averaged 92 wins a season.

The same can't be said about Bob Geren.

Geren served as the A's bench coach under Macha and has been with the organization since 1999. The minor league record Geren had with various teams was 452-390, but the success hasn't translated at the major league level so far as Geren has only average 75 and a half wins a season in his first two years.

So did the A's front office make a mistake? The early results suggest that they did.
 
Apologists of Geren will reference the A's "rebuilding phase" they entered once Geren took over management as an excuse for his poor overall record. However, this phase was only entered into after Geren failed to take a 2007 roster, that featured 23 returning players from 2006 ALCS team, and make them winners. 

Looking ahead, while fans knew the 2008 team wouldn't compete with the deals management made, there was still a strong sense of optimism that most fans had for the team entering the 2009 season. Through the various deals the previous year, Billy Beane had restocked the farm system with several promising young arms. These arms, combined with the recent acquisitions of all-star outfielder Matt Holliday, shortstop Orlando Cabrera, and first basemen Jason Giambi were supposed to guide this team back to "respectability".

Geren's decision making abilities was already questioned early on when he chose to go with pitcher Josh Outman as the fifth starter in his rotation over the more talented Sean Gallagher. Not only did Geren not go with Gallagher, but he didn't send Gallagher to AAA to get in work as a starter. Instead, Geren left Gallagher at the end of his bullpen and hardly ever used him in a game. In addition, Geren has been criticized by fans for failing to skip Outman when he has the chance and also for platooning outfielder Travis Buck with Rajai Davis even though Buck (a left handed hitter) has a higher average against left handed pitchers than Davis.

Throughout the year so far, the offense has been anemic, while the pitching staff has been just average. With that said, the A's have found themselves in many close ballgames and it is these type of games, where a good manager can be the difference between a win and a loss. In a game against the Yankees early in the season, Geren decided to play the infield in when the Yankees featured runners at second and third with one out in the second inning.....

Yes. I did just type second inning. However, I failed to mention that the game was tied 0-0. Why any manager would do this at this point of a game is beyond me. Little league managers know better than this. It ended up costing the A's game. The Yankees ended up scoring four runs in the inning when the next two hits could have been fielded for outs instead of singles. Had Geren played the infield back, the result would have been minimal and he would have given his team a chance to win. The Yankees only scored one run the rest of the game.

Later in that series, the team had an extra inning ballgame where Dan Giese had already gone three innings and was clearly worn out. The A's alternatives in their pen featured Sean Gallagher and Santiago Casilla. Gallagher could have worked several innings, as he was formerly a starter for the team, but Geren chose to leave Giese out to dry and the A's ended up losing the game.

In the weekend series this past week, the A's had several leads against the Seattle Mariners and failed to capitalize on them and put teams away. Instead, Geren left relievers in for way too long. The most recent was Gio Gonzalez, who made 103 pitches in relief on Sunday night. That should never happen in a relief role. Not only were the A's leading by three entering the bottom of the 13th, but the A's had several other options they could have turned to. By stretching Gio Gonzalez out, they risked injury and they also ended up losing the game.



A's pitcher Gio Gonzalez was left out to dry Sunday night


So far, not counting Monday nights game, Geren has cost this team at least two wins (if not more) and has not put the team in position to win ballgames. Even the A's pythagorean win-loss percentage suggests that the team should have two more wins than they already do.

Firing Geren would be a difficult task for GM Billy Beane to do. After all, Geren was the best man at Beane's second wedding. However, it's what many A's fans want to happen right now and there is a pretty good argument to support it. I'm not going to go there just yet, but I will say that Geren should be placed on the hot seat. If he cannot produce some results this season, perhaps he's not the right guy for the job.


Comments

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2009 2:06 pm
 

What About Bob?

You don't fill one of their positions,  you are far better than they could have provided with one of their paid guys. Thanks for the props.

But I have to agree that their was a lack of Billy Beane criticism here, Beane must take some heat for Geren's job so far. What do you want me to do? Say "fire Billy Beane"?.....I would never do that. I said the front office made a mistake. That's about all I can say in regards to the front office. I can't really elaborate much more.

I was glad to see Macha canned,  the A's had a very good team that year,  and Macha not only couldn't get along with his players,  he didn't seem to get along with anyone, front office or media included. I shared this opinion at first, but the more and more I read about Macha's tactics, the more I like them....Players should b e encouraged to play through injuries when they can. Key starters should be acknowledged more by the manager than bench players as it establishes leadership. Managers shouldn't be the players best friend, they should just put the team in position to win. Macha did that as he had four solid years in Oakland and got the team to the ALCS. You can't say that about Bob Geren, nor Art Howe.

It's early and I don't think Bob Geren should be the first firing in MLB this season,  but the A's should be playing better in the field and at the plate than they have,  they cannot afford mistakes by the mgr and expect to win. I agree 100% here.

But I agree with ubbrewer who said that this staff will be worse as the season goes on,  not better. Braden will get worse, but only because he's been on fire to start. Cahill is getting better and better each game. Anderson is still up in the air as he's been hurt in two games. Outman I really don't care as he is getting replaced by Duke eventually. As for Gallagher, it's anyone's guess.

I think they will wear down unless the A's can start to score some runs and get the young guy's a lead occasionally. No doubt. They need to score to win ballgames. The 12 runs against the Royals the other day was a nice cushion for Cahill.



Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: May 12, 2009 1:02 pm
 

What About Bob?

Great Work BP. I can say that when Geren was signed in 07 i was not really happy about it becuase i had wanted us to keep Ron Washington. Now it looks like 2 guys that came from our coaching staff Ron Washington and Ken Wakamatsu our having much more success with teams in our own division then Bob Geren. Im starting to wonder if Billy made the wrong desicion on who he kept.



Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posted on: May 6, 2009 11:22 pm
 

What About Bob?

This is a great column BP,  cBS is ripping you off,  they should have to pay for this kind of talent.  But they can't pay,  they are broke like most of the rest of the media these days,  so they are looking for people to fill their formerly paid positions.  You don't fill one of their positions,  you are far better than they could have provided with one of their paid guys.  LOL to junke,  I am not sdjammer or whatever that posters s/n was,  where did that come from?  But I have to agree that their was a lack of Billy Beane criticism here, Beane must take some heat for Geren's job so far.  I was glad to see Macha canned,  the A's had a very good team that year,  and Macha not only couldn't get along with his players,  he didn't seem to get along with anyone, front office or media included.  Geren had the AAA championship, and Beane's trust, so he seemed a natural for the job,  and I had called for the A's to hire Geren a year before they did, and before he was best man at Beane's wedding.  It's early and I don't think Bob Geren should be the first firing in MLB this season,  but the A's should be playing better in the field and at the plate than they have,  they cannot afford mistakes by the mgr and expect to win.  But I agree with ubbrewer who said that this staff will be worse as the season goes on,  not better.  I think they will wear down unless the A's can start to score some runs and get the young guy's a lead occasionally.  Fine stuff BP.



Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 6, 2009 3:16 pm
 

What About Bob?

What is Bob supposed to do with aging veterans and the rest of the squad made up of AAA hopefuls. The pitching has been among the best in the league and the main people that aren't hitting are Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, and Orlando Cabrera. These guys should be able to carry the team.....However, the argument with Geren isn't that he's losing because of the talent on his roster. He's making stupid decisions in game that have cost the team.

Besides it is tough to compete with the Halo's when Bean is unwilling to open up that pocketbook. It shouldn't have been tough in April as the Halo's had 3 starters on the disabled list, one starter die, and their franchise player sidelined as well.




Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: May 6, 2009 1:36 pm
 

What About Bob?

What is Bob supposed to do with aging veterans and the rest of the squad made up of AAA hopefuls.  Besides it is tough to compete with the Halo's when Bean is unwilling to open up that pocketbook. Hope you guys get a ton of talent when you trade Holiday at the deadline



Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 6, 2009 12:15 am
 

What About Bob?

I think Bob Geren is a Yes man to Billy Beane and worse yet he's not very good at the subtle nuances of the game...when to hit and run, when to play the infield in, how long to leave a pitcher out there, who should be in the rotation. Exactly....And I do know the team would have more wins if the three big offseason acquisitions would start performing, but they would have even more wins if Geren didn't make boneheaded decisions. He is like a really bad player on the roster that keeps getting at bats. The more he's in the lineup, the worse of a chance the team has at winning (even if it was a team filled with superstars).

I used to get angry that Macha never got himself tossed when defending players and his passive agressive approach to managing, but now that I see what his replacement has been, I really wish we had him back. At least Macha can field a lineup. Geren needs to stop making boneheaded decisions or it's going to be a long year in Oakland.





Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 5, 2009 7:55 pm
 

What About Bob?

I also have to chime in and say the lack of success is not all on Geren . I'm not laying all the blame on the slow start to Geren, but he definitely is adding to it and has cost the team games that they can't afford to be losing right now. I have always been a firm believer that a good manager is one that isn't noticed. Because the offense has started out slow, ballgames have been closer, and a managerials decisions have a much more profound impact on the game....I can't really say that Geren has won us any up to this point.

The DL is a very familiar place for the Athletics' roster. As I mentioned on the A's board, this only started happening once Geren took over as manager. Could it be possible that more players are purposely sitting and not playing through injuries? I mean, they get paid the same amount of money whether or not they are in the lineup. Ken Macha used to encourage players to play through injuries...Is Geren doing the same? I'm not so sure.

Now I don't know if that applies to any of the guys we have on the DL right now, but to say there hasn't been a trend since Geren took over would also be false. We keep breaking our own record for using the DL. So we're either extremely unlucky or something else is happening behind the scenes...

The coaching staff is constantly scrambling to get lineups together. There is no consistency. I don't know....The first five in the order have remained in their spots all year long. It's the bottom of the order that has lacked consistency, but that's Geren's own fault. Really, it should be obvious what spot to put Kurt Suzuki in the lineup. I've been saying for a long time that Gregorio Petit should be the obvious backup in case of injury and yet Geren calls up Patterson first. Meanwhile, his platooning of Buck and Davis is of his own creation.

These players, ESPECIALLY Eric Chavez, going down to injury is forcing AAA players to pre-maturely get called up. This isn't why we're losing. Eric Chavez is done and his injury should have been anticipated. Bobby Crosby is actually doing a decent job filling in (meaning he's actually drawing walks this year). Meanwhile, Ellis hasn't done anything in a while and Petit's performance has been better anyway. The performances we're getting out of these two spots have been expected.

What's costing the team is Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, and Orlando Cabrera starting off slow. However, as mentioned before, that still doesn't excuse Geren for being a bad manager and making poor choices. At the very least, the A's should be a .500 ballclub right now, not 5 games under.

If the A's were 14-9 right now, this post would not exsist. If the A's were 12-11, this post might still not exist. But the fact is....they aren't....The offense's slow start has showed me how bad of a manager Geren has been and it's inexcusable.

I want the starters back on the field playing every day so some of these youngsters can get back down to AAA to develop. The youngsters on offense we have right now aren't going to develop much more. Petit and Patterson are 26. Hannahan is 29. They are just temporary fill ins. Quite frankly, Eric Chavez isn't all that much better than Bobby Crosby is performing now and the same goes for Ellis. The injuries have caught up to them and they are only getting older.



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2009 7:02 pm
 

What About Bob?

BP, that is exactly where I am at. I think Bob Geren is a Yes man to Billy Beane and worse yet he's not very good at the subtle nuances of the game...when to hit and run, when to play the infield in, how long to leave a pitcher out there, who should be in the rotation. Here is the problem as I see it. He is costing the A's games in the Wins column with his pathetic mis-management. I miss Ken Macha. Even Art Howe. I love Billy Beane's moves, but he isn't a good manager either...there should be some give and take between a GM and manager, right now in Oakland there isn't.

Getting outmanaged and losing games you should have won is where we tend to get upset as fans, that is why there will be more and more A's fans clamoring for Bobs firing if the current performance remains the same.

JCoug



Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2009 6:17 pm
 

What About Bob?

 .... What about the A's?

2009 officially marks two full decades in which the Athletics have last won the World Series. In the last 20 years, this squad has endured a lot of diversity. From the Jeremy Giambi non-slide against the Yankees dating back to the strike-shortened season, it seems like the Athletics fan base cannot get a break.

Problems on ball clubs, regardless of the sport, usually starts at the top. Poor marketing and lack of talent leads to poor attendance. Owners don't make the money from revenue so they skimp out on purchasing big contracts, often letting several stars leave. This is dead true for the Athletics.

Geren has made some interesting decisions during his tenure as head coach. Regardless of his relationship with the GM or the players, he has a wonderful job and quite frankly, doesn't seem to perform like his resume states.  

The biggest head scratcher, as mentioned in this post, was his idea to let Gio Gonzalez pitch 7 innings of relief (100+ pitches) right after getting called up from Sacramento. Seems like the "effectiveness" of his coaching abilities are sometimes set up for failure. He has been around this staff for a while now. Both previous bench coaches for this staff currently occupy head coaching positions in the MLB. He should be "the guy," but mabye the ol' saying that nice guys always finish last is true for this coach .

I also have to chime in and say the lack of success is not all on Geren. The DL is a very familiar place for the Athletics' roster. The coaching staff is constantly scrambling to get lineups together. There is no consistency. If four of the starting nine are on the DL, the coach needs to make some bold moves to make sure he has the best talent on the field at all times. These players, ESPECIALLY Eric Chavez, going down to injury is forcing AAA players to pre-maturely get called up.

If the A's were 14-9 right now, this post would not exsist. Again, that is not the case. This club seemed to be heading in a positive direction with some big-named acquisitions this offseason. Jason Giambi, Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera have made a minimal impact this first month. Those who have critisized the younger rotation should focus their comments on the offense. The bats are silent, average is lowest in the league and the power is not there. 

Banned Poster; I appreciate the concern as you know I too am a die-hard A's fan. I think this post is written with a lot of frustration; which has much merit. I hope the bats come alive and these pitchers progress. I want the starters back on the field playing every day so some of these youngsters can get back down to AAA to develop.

GO A's!! LOT MORE BALL TO PLAY GUYS!! Its only MAY!





Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 5, 2009 4:19 pm
 

What About Bob?

In related news...
Bob Geren sat outfielder Ryan Sweeney for last night despite Sweeney being on a 12 game hitting streak and having a career batting average of .390 in 59 at bats against the Angels.

Idiotic.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com