The Chronicle’s Ray Ratto breaks down the numbers that are up against the A’s fourth year manager:
There have been 663 managers in major-league history, 176 of whom have
held the job since 1980. Of those 176, 46 have held the same job for
more than four years, which is where Geren would be at season’s end. Of
those 46, 10 have held the job for at least four years without taking
that team to the postseason. Of those 10, only four have not taken any team to the postseason. And only one has a lower winning percentage than Geren’s.
Ratto notes, however, that Geren and Billy Beane are really, really close and that the A’s, in general, are notoriously dismissive of a manager’s impact on wins and losses. Geren is cheap, both this season and in terms of his 2011 team option, and there isn’t any strong reason to believe that he’s either the cause of the A’s recent woes or an impediment to future success.
I think more telling than anything the team does with Geren this year is whether the fans and newspapers in the Bay Area will be calling for his head if the A’s get off to a bad start. I bet it will be rather quiet. Why? Because my fear — and what should be the fear of the A’s front office — is that people in Oakland are far less angry at the course the team is taking than they are utterly indifferent.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.