Can Bob Geren Manage in October?

While A’s GM Billy Beane transforms his rebuilding club into a contending one this offseason, manager Bob Geren is being dealt a better hand each day.  But how he manages his promising hand has yet to be seen. Next season marks the first time A’s fans can finally judge if Geren, 49, has the managerial competence to lead a competitive team into the playoffs. Tony La Russa did it. So did Art Howe. Ken Macha did it, too. In his first four seasons as A’s manager, Bob Geren has not.

Yes, injuries have haunted his club over the past two seasons, he’s been forced to work with bland talent, and his young players were still learning how to play the game. Heck, Geren himself was developing as a manager and learning how to shepherd a club at the highest level.

But those days are gone. His players have grown up. His players appear healthy. The upgrades have arrived. And he now has 647 games under his belt. No more excuses. It’s time to see if Geren’s managerial savvy can match the talent on his club. If there ever was a team in which Geren could bolster his resume and ride its talent, it’s the 2011 A’s. So let’s watch: if he leads the A’s back into contention, give him credit. If he doesn’t, hold him accountable.

Granted, Geren is always going to be recognized as one of Beane’s closest friends. The perception that he was hired as manager because of his ties with Beane didn’t exactly cast him as a hot commodity like recently-hired Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers. When Beane fired Ken Macha after the 2006 season, many A’s fans, in fact, wanted third base coach Ron Washington to become their new skipper. Instead, Texas hired Washington and Beane gave us Geren. Four years later, Geren has a .474 winning percentage (307-340), has yet to record a winning season, and hasn’t proved he can out-strategize an opposing manager or make crucial pitching changes in the thick of a pennant race (To be fair, he hasn’t had the opportunities). Washington, meanwhile, popped champagne bottles last October.

Don’t misunderstand me: I want Geren to succeed and build his own identity as a manager. Who knows? He could turn out to be a solid manager who just needed some talent to win. But if he fails to win for a fifth straight season, Beane needs to react as any other general manager would: seek change and hold him accountable. He has the cards to win, and it’s a shame to waste a good hand.

3 Responses, Leave a Reply

  1. If the A’s and Bob Geren can actually make it to October then that’ll be a feat in and of itself. The AL is too talented to let the A’s beat them in October. Even when we had a great team we only made it past the first round once, only to get massacred by the Detroit Tigers. At least the A’s are in a bad division so could actually make the playoffs if they can replicate their record of last season. But to actually think they’ll do anything beyond that is wishful thinking. As an life long A’s fan we will continually be a mediocre team until Wolff is gone or we get a new stadium.

  1. - Jan 8th, 2011

Leave a Reply