Communication issues meant Bob Geren had to get the boot

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It’s a given that Oakland GM Billy Beane didn’t want to let his close friend go: Bob Geren was the best man at his wedding.  Still, the change needed to come with Geren having lost the A’s clubhouse.

In replacing Geren, the A’s chose a lesser baseball man but a better manager of people in Bob Melvin.  Melvin often baffled with his lineup decisions in Seattle and he didn’t get a whole lot better in Arizona, but his players liked him and generally seemed to play hard for him.

Geren has had to deal with both current reliever Brian Fuentes and former reliever Huston Street bashing him in recent weeks.  Former A’s backup catcher Rob Bowen has also chimed in, showing a strong dislike for his ex-manager:

Finally the A’s have realized Geren has destroyed a dozen pitcher’s careers and doesn’t have a clue how to manage a big league club

As CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto puts it:

Geren struggled throughout his 4 1/2-year tenure as the Oakland manager to win  the respect of either his roster or the outside world. It wasn’t that he didn’t know baseball as much as he didn’t know how to convey it, and those who cannot communicate are doomed no matter how smart they might be.

Melvin really has his work cut out for him now.   The A’s are down three starters and their top rotation replacement in Tyson Ross.  The offense is next to last in the AL with 223 runs scored, and the fact that part-timers Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson have actually been the team’s second- and third-best hitters behind Josh Willingham will make deciding on a lineup a tricky assignment each and every day.

Given the hand that Geren was dealt, I doubt the A’s would have any better of a record through 63 games had Melvin been handed the reins at the start of the year.  Still, it was time for a change.  Melvin was far from an ideal choice, but given what was available and the team’s need for harmony in the clubhouse, he’s probably the right man for now.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.