Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time for underachieving A's to fire Bob Geren?

Now that all the excitement and/or agony April generates with unexpected starts in Major League Baseball has passed, it’s time to pass judgment.

By tradition, that comes on the traditional observance of Memorial Day weekend, which ended Sunday. It is at this juncture that we can honestly and realistically offer praise and criticism for the season thus far. The teams and their players have completed almost a third of their schedule, about 50 games, so we should have a pretty good basis for our beliefs.

In other words, the Giants are no better or worse than we expected and the A’s have underachieved to the point that management ought to seriously consider firing manager Bob Geren.

The Giants are hovering around the .500 mark as usual because their starting pitching is above average and their offense is below average. So what’s new? It’s what we all envisioned isn’t it?  They are who we thought they were.

The Giants are the definition of mediocre, the second best team in baseball’s worst division and they’re going to be looking up at the Dodgers all year. This is what the Giants season is going to be: A little ho and a little hum and if you put it all together it’s ho hum, baby.

The A’s, meanwhile, are the last place team in the second worst division in baseball with the second worst record in the big leagues. They are 10 games out, 10 games under .500 and ten fold worse than we expected when this season started when we, or I, suspected they would be good enough to challenge the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, at least until the Angels’ starting pitching got healthier.

Instead, the A’s are last in the league in batting (by 12 points), hits, extra base hits, home runs, total bases, stolen bases and slugging percentage. Worse, they seemingly have been playing uninspired ball and that’s reflective of the manager.

We all know Geren is best buds with A’s general manager Billy Beane, so Geren we can assume has a long leash.  But it doesn’t help Beane’s case that Geren’s predecessor in Oakland, Ken Macha, has the Milwaukee Brewers in first place in the NL Central right now. Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was fired the other day when his team had the same record as the A’s.

The A’s young pitching has been inconsistent, yet better than expected (the team’s ERA tops the Angels, Rays and even the Yankees) so the veterans apparently need to step it up and I sense if may have a problem with Geren. Matt Holliday, the team’s big off-season acquisition, made a crack about Geren about three weeks ago in a post-game TV interview and I wonder if he speaks for other key players on the team.

The bottom line is the A’s are in the cellar in the AL West while the Texas Rangers – the biggest surprise team so far – have a history of fading in the second half of the season. Beane is probably not going to add to payroll so he must subtract. Maybe it’s time to minus the manager to make a difference.


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