Blog Entry

Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 1:55 pm
If the A's were any other team, or if they had any other general manager, Bob Geren would easily top any list of managers on the hot seat.

His team is in last place. There is rumbling in the clubhouse. And late Monday night, the rumbling became public, when fill-in closer Brian Fuentes blasted Geren after the A's latest loss.

Fuentes is 1-7, which means he probably deserves as much blame as Geren for the A's problems (and as much blame as their traditionally toothless offense). But people close to the team say that Fuentes' comments reflect a greater clubhouse unease with the manager -- who is so close to general manager Billy Beane that Geren was the best man at Beane's wedding.

Beane has consistently supported Geren, publicly and (by all accounts) privately. He has consistently said that he thinks Geren is a good manager, and put the blame elsewhere for the A's lack of success (they've never had a winning record under Geren, who took over immediately after the team lost to the Tigers in the 2006 ALCS).

But there are some who wonder if this is different, especially now that Fuentes spoke out. There are those who believe that Beane would even be willing to fire his best friend, if he becomes convinced that Geren has lost the team.

"It would crush him," said one person in the game who knows Beane well. "But I think he would do it."

It wouldn't be a surprise if Beane dumps Fuentes first, if only to prove that one angry (and unsuccessful) player can't get his way.

Fuentes' most damning comment, made to a group of reporters after Monday's 4-1 loss to the Angels, was that he has had "zero" communication with Geren.

"There's just a lack of communication," Fuentes said. "I don't think anybody really knows which direction he's headed."

What had Fuentes so upset (other than losing yet again) was that Monday was the third straight time Geren had used his closer in a tie game on the road, something most managers won't do. Monday, apparently without warning, Geren called on Fuentes to warm up in the seventh inning, then had him start the eighth inning in another tie game.

Fuentes called it "unorthodox managing." Unorthodox is fine, but the more significant question is whether Geren was putting Fuentes (and the team) in the best situation to succeed.

Remember, it was a "lack of communication" that got Ken Macha fired in Oakland. Then again, Macha wasn't Beane's best friend.

In this case, it would be easy to kill the messenger. Fuentes has been awful as the replacement for injured closer Andrew Bailey. Geren has put him in eight tie games, and Fuentes has taken the loss in six of them, an incredible stat for a pitcher who rarely works more than one inning.

Fuentes is just the third pitcher in at least the last 90 years to lose seven games in relief this early in a season (Gene Garber with the 1979 Braves and Jim Kern with the 1980 Rangers were the other two).

And plenty of managers, when relievers have complained about not knowing their roles, have responded by saying, "Your role is to pitch when I put you in the game."

Besides, let's remember that Fuentes signed with the A's to be Bailey's setup man, which means he would be used in exactly the situations Geren has put him in this week.

But it's also true that plenty of managers have lost respect in the clubhouse by failing to communicate with their players. And that's usually the first step out the door.

One A's source said that everyday players constantly need to look at the lineup card when they get to the clubhouse, because Geren hasn't told them in advance whether they're playing (or where they're hitting).

The feeling in the clubhouse, the source said, is that Geren dislikes his veteran players.

It's a recipe for trouble, and when it's combined with losing, it's usually a recipe for getting a manager fired.

But most managers weren't the best man at the GM's wedding. Most teams aren't like the A's.

How bad would things need to get for Beane to fire his best friend?

Maybe we're about to find out.

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:00 pm

Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

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Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

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Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

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Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:31 am

Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

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Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

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Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 5:52 pm

Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 12:20 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 19, 2011
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:17 am

Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

Players need to play, and managers do the managing.  I'd say Fuentes may be doing his best to try to get out of town.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:15 am

Geren may not communicate, but Fuentes just did

Snacks--He probably does want to get traded or released.  (I doubt that with his veteran status he can be sent down without his permission.)

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