Wow: ten minutes after I do an extended “Logan’s Run” riff on Bob Geren, speculating that he’ll be gone come this September when he turns 50, the A’s go and fire him. Geren is out: Bob Melvin takes over.
The A’s have lost nine in a row and absolutely nothing has gone right for them. They depended on the offense improving and it hasn’t. They depended on the pitching carrying them like last year and there have been injuries preventing that. And the whole reason for hiring a guy like Geren in the first place — even keel, do the front office’s bidding, etc. — was called into question a few weeks ago when Geren got into a public dispute with reliever Brian Fuentes. If a middle manager can’t keep the peace, what’s the point of having a middle manager? Given his famous friendship with Billy Beane, one wonders if he simply lost the A’s clubhouse entirely.
Replacing Geren is Bob Melvin, who compiled a 337-340 record in four-plus seasons with the Diamondbacks. The same Melvin who, just a couple of weeks ago, was re-hired by the Diamondbacks as a “special baseball advisor.” He probably hasn’t even finished his Dbacks new employee orientation yet, but now he’s the boss of the A’s.
Tough break, Bob. Congratulations on the new job, other Bob.
UPDATE: Here’s the Athletics’ full press release on the firing. It’s mostly just biography on Geren and Melvin. Presumably there will be a press conference later when someone can lie and say that Geren was not fired due to a full-on team revolt as many who have covered the A’s before are suggesting on Twitter this afternoon.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.