It wasn’t an eleventh hour decision made in the heat of the moment. As the losses kept piling up, A’s GM Billy Beane realized his team wasn’t responding the way he wanted and decided to make a change. It was time to fire his friend, manager Bob Geren.
“Let’s face it - in this business, the best response you get from the field staff is obviously ultimately in the wins and losses column,” Beane said on a conference call with reporters this afternoon.
Beane repeated throughout the call that the shift in focus from the players to the manager drove the personnel change for the 27-36 A’s. The GM said media speculation about Geren’s job security contributed to the distractions surrounding the A’s, who have lost nine straight games.
Earlier in the season, left-hander Brian Fuentes and former A’s reliever Huston Street publicly criticized Geren. Beane did not seek players out before deciding to change managers and did not comment on whether players sought him out to discuss possible problems.
The solution: replace Geren with interim manager Bob Melvin, the former Mariners and D’Backs skipper (the D’Backs did not require compensation for letting Melvin leave their front office for the A’s job). Though Melvin doesn’t yet have a permanent hold on the managerial job, Beane expressed optimism about his new hire.
“We’ll see how it goes the rest of the year,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in Bob to have a positive impact.”
The A’s have endured injuries to multiple key players this season and recently lost four starters to injuries in a three week span. Melvin will face the same depleted rotation his predecessor did, but the last-place A’s haven’t given up on the season.
“The natural competitor in Bob [Melvin] and the natural competitor in me doesn’t want to give anything away certainly with 99 games left,” Beane said. “But I also think we have to be realistic given the available players right now especially in the pitching rotation.”