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.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.