You knew this was going to happen. It was only a matter of when. Well, the hammer was finally dropped today on Bob Geren, who was fired today as manager of the Oakland A's.
His replacement? That would be former Diamondbacks and Mariners manager Bob Melvin, who will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the season.
It does come as a bit of a surprise because of Geren's relationship with GM Billy Beane. The two were roommates in the minor leagues and very close friends. Of course, the running joke amongst many in baseball was the fact that Geren was the perfect type of manager for Beane because he did whatever the GM wanted.
But even Beane couldn't overlook what was going on with the team any longer.
The team was underachieving dramatically. They had lost nine straight to fall to 27-36 - last in the AL West and eight games out of first place. Not good considering the A's were supposed to contend this year in the West thanks to a pitching staff anchored by Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. However, injuries have hurt the A's all season. Closer Andrew Bailey got hurt in spring training, Dallas Braden is lost for the season with surgery, starter Tyson Ross is on the disabled list and Anderson has had elbow issues.
Worse than that were the accusations by current and former players about his communication and management skills or lack there of. There were supposedly off the record rumblings about Geren's managing style, his lack of people skills and his questionable decision making. But no one really went on record and criticized Geren till a few weeks ago when interim closer Brian Fuentes complained about how he was being used.
"I thought the games in San Francisco were some unorthodox managing, but I thought it was maybe the National League, maybe that had something to do with it," Fuentes said. "But tonight was pretty unbelievable."
Fuentes, who has 196 career saves and is filling in for injured closer Andrew Bailey, was asked his thoughts on how he's being handled in the bullpen.
"Pretty poorly," he replied.
How much communication does he have with Geren?
"Zero."Then former A's closer Huston Street took out his mini flamethrower and barbecued Geren a little more in the San Francisco Chronicle.
On Tuesday, Street, now with the Rockies, offered his harshest public criticism of Geren in a text to Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser:
"Bob was never good at communication, and I don't want to speak for anybody else, but it was a sentiment reflected in many conversations during the two years I spent in Oakland, and even recently when talking to guys after I left. For me personally, he was my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27. I am very thankful to be in a place where I can trust my manager."Heck, if you read even lower in the story, you'll see that Capt. Hugs-A-Lot - the venerable Mike Sweeney - even got into it with Geren.
He leaves without ever achieving a winning record and a 334-376 record.
After a handful of dealings with Geren in media sessions, let's just say there will be no tears shed from me. I would imagine more than a few of his players might even be raising a glass of an adult beverage to have him gone.
The A's get sort of the opposite in Melvin, who is a pretty good communicator and doesn't have the level of condescension.
Can Melvin fix the A's before they sink into the abyss and GM Billy Beane starts trading off pieces for prospects and lower payroll? They need to get to healthy first. Anderson, Ross and Mark Ellis need to return to the lineup. And Melvin needs to find a way to get some offense out of his players. Check out the stats ... the A's and Mariners are in a fight for worst offense in the American League.
Good luck to Bob Melvin. He's good guy, who will work hard, and deserves another shot at managing. Good luck to Bob Geren, he is well ...