Stormy run ends
Fast-fading A’s give Geren ax
Beane tabs Melvin interim manager
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics fired manager Bob Geren yesterday in the midst of a nine-game losing streak that has sent them tumbling to the bottom of the AL West standings.
“It felt like at this point a change was necessary,’’ general manager Billy Beane said. “It got to the point where the emphasis was on the status of the manager on a daily basis and no longer on the field. When that starts to happen, you need to shift the focus to what’s really important, which is performance. That’s how we came to this decision.’’
Former Arizona manager Bob Melvin will take over for the rest of the season as interim manager in the first midseason managerial change for the organization in a quarter century.
Geren’s four-plus seasons at the helm in Oakland were marked by numerous injuries, a lack of offense, and high-profile departures as he was unable to post a winning season after taking over an AL West championship team from Ken Macha. Geren posted a 334-376 record, including a 27-36 mark this season that has left Oakland eight games behind Texas in the AL West. This was the final year of Geren’s contract.
The A’s currently have four starting pitchers on the disabled list, including a season-ending shoulder injury for Dallas Braden. Oakland also was without injured All-Star closer Andrew Bailey for the first two months, and is last in the AL with 223 runs.
Geren had come under criticism from his bullpen in recent weeks for a lack of communication with reliever Brian Fuentes, and former Oakland closer Huston Street publicly criticized him.
But it was the rash of injuries and lack of offense that led to the losing streak that spelled the end of his tenure. The current skid is the longest for the A’s since a 10-gamer in July 2008, and the fifth-longest single-season losing streak since the team moved to Oakland in 1968.
This is the first time the A’s have fired a manager during the season since firing Jackie Moore after 73 games in 1986. Jeff Newman took over for 10 games on an interim basis before Tony La Russa was brought in to start a run that included four division titles and the 1989 World Series championship.
Melvin, 49, took over for the series opener in Chicago against the White Sox last night. The Bay Area native posted a 493-508 record in seven seasons as manager with Seattle and Arizona. He led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title in 1997, and also won 93 games in his rookie season with the Mariners in 2003.