Ken Macha will walk away from the Oakland Athletics after seven years with fresh memories of another winning season, despite a young and injury-depleted lineup.
He hopes potential employers appreciate that, too.
Macha was out of a job as A's manager yesterday after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, which he called one of several ''massive disappointments" in his tenure.
''Who knows how the rest of baseball views you?" Macha said hours after general manager Billy Beane announced there would be no further negotiations to keep the third-year skipper.
''I can go home and sleep and know that we used tremendous character to get through this season," Macha said.
Macha led the A's to the American League West title in his first year as manager in 2003, the club's fourth straight playoff berth. But Oakland failed to reach the postseason the past two years despite a 91-win season in 2004 and 88 victories this year.
''We offered a three-year deal with a club option and they countered with a three-year deal without a club option," Beane said. ''I don't think we were ever going to be able to bridge the gap. It was a significant gap."
The option would have allowed the A's to decide whether to keep Macha after three seasons.
''There are no hard feelings whatsoever," Beane said. ''This is part of the business."
Macha had said he hoped to return to the A's, but declined to discuss specifics of the team's offer, saying money matters are strictly personal.
Macha's agent, Alan Nero, said he spoke yesterday to Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield about their managerial vacancy. The Marlins are also interested in the 55-year-old, Nero said.
Jim Tracy, back on the managerial market after he and the Los Angeles Dodgers parted ways earlier this week, was interviewed for two hours by phone by Littlefield yesterday.