Sunday, October 16, 2011

More on Geren

Photoi by Michael Baron
I'm not trying to be the Bob Geren spokesman or defender, but as much as I was excited by the new front office, I was skeptical by several of their first year moves and for the most part those moves pleasantly surprised me.

I heard all the negatives; why get an AL guy if you want managerial expereince behind Terry, if Riggleman was Terry's guy why extend Terry and then force your guy on him, players complained about his use of bullpen arms and has poor communication skills. 

For those wondering where I stand, I'm nuetral; in fact, I know nothing about him. I've completed two posts on him one pointing out the negatives and one on the positives.

I find myself digging further to try and figure out what Alderson and Co. had in mind with this hiring.  It was said that Chip Hale leaving started the domino effect of changes to the staff because they needed someone to replace Hale's organized analytical pre-game research.  Well it looks like Geren will be Hale's replacement in that department...

Geren is amazingly organized. He has a board in his office on which he has three weeks of games planned out, and what pitchers the A's are going to face. He is a real student of the game, and big believer in the statistical end of the game, some of which he gets from a book called "The Book." He knows, from reading, that over the course of the season, a No. 3 hitter is going to get 15 more plate appearances than the No. 4 hitter.

"If you have a strikeout guy, sometimes it's best to hit him second, not fifth," Geren said. "There are more productive outs at the fifth spot. And did you know that the No. 3 spot in the order comes to the plate with no runners on base more than any spot in the batting order?" Source 4/3/09

While Larry Bowa's name was bantered about, I heard some express that they wanted someone more animated on the bench then Obie.  Geren doesn't sound like the fire and brimstone type but he also doesn't sound subdued. 

Ellis is the only player expected back in 2007 who has played for newcomer Bob Geren and predecessors Art Howe and Ken Macha.

"A complete 180 in personality," Ellis said. "Art was more quiet. Macha was more reserved. With Bob, you've got a very outspoken personality. He's got great enthusiasm for baseball and people in general."

Ellis added, "He could talk to a wall and probably make the wall laugh." source SF Gate 2006

The irony of Geren's situation was that the chief complaint about him when he was about to get fired was poor communication but four years earlier he was the good communicator taking over for the aloof Macha ( second article to say as much).

After a lengthy managerial search, the Athletics promoted Geren to skipper on Nov. 17. Geren, a former journeyman catcher, was hired primarily because of his communication skills with players. Many of the players endorsed Geren's promotion source KFFL

So I decided to look into these complaints about communication, his biggest accusers were Huston Street and Brian Fuentes.  Both closers at the times of their public melt downs were struggling, Fuentes was close to being pulled as the closer and what's left out of Streets comments is that during the initial incident in 2008 he would later apoligize to the team for being selfish.  It's funny, much of what I read reminded me of the Luis Ayala 2007 days, when relievers were complaining about roles and communication. 

After being put in a fourth-straight tied-game situation, A’s closer Brian Fuentes lashed out at manager Bob Geren, calling his managerial approach “unorthodox.” Fuentes, who became the team’s closer after Andrew Bailey suffered an injury, has lost four straight decisions to fall to 1-7 on the season.source Swinging A's

In September 2008, Street had to be separated from Geren by shortstop Bobby Crosby after getting pulled from a game in Detroit. Calling himself "selfish," Street later held a meeting to apologize to his teammates. source Baseball Nation

I know in 2007 when our relievers were complaining about roles many of us wanted them to just shut up and get outs when asked, whenever they were asked.  When two prominent closers blast him and then gets fired it seems to support their side of the arguement.  The other day in the above linked post I found an article blaming injuries to the rotation for his demise and any article about his firing after discussing the closers' comments immediately discusses injuries.

Because he's the first manager to be shown the door this season, Geren is also the first to receive the usual chorus of "it wasn't really all his fault." And it's true. The A's opening day pitching rotation has logged too much DL time and fielding a competent offense has only been a rumor at the Coliseum. Can we really make Geren the lone scapegoat when the A's organization failed to cultivate any homegrown bats during Geren's entire tenure source Yahoo sports

Finally many of us wanted Rick Peterson to return as the pitching coach, well he was on WFAN this weekend with Steve Somers.  During the interview he was asked about Geren whom he worked with in Oakland and I'm paraphasing here since there isn't a transcript available.  Peterson basically said it was great signing and not only is he a solid baseball man but a great teacher for catchers.