I realize that the title of this diary is unpopular enough, but I've also come to another conclusion that may go way beyond being merely "unpopular":
Ron Washington would have been the worst choice to serve as the next A's manager.
Hold on. Before you grab your pitchfork or light your torch and head East to find me, please hear me out. After I'm done, you are more than welcome to convict me of heresy in the comments section.
Despite all of his critics on AN and elsewhere, Ken Macha wasn't fired last month because of his in-game tactics or because the players underperformed under his watch. In fact, he placed third in the voting for AL Manager of the year. Instead, Macha was let go because of the "disconnect" he had with the rest of the organization.
I firmly believe Billy Beane is the best GM in baseball. But the man is human, and makes mistakes. The biggest mistake of Beane's tenure, in my opinion, was bringing back Macha last year in the manner that he did. Beane emasculated Macha by essentially forcing Macha to come crawling back for his old job. And you better believe the players were aware of Macha's weak standing. Inevitably, the players, most notably a balky-backed centerfielder, used their various beefs with management as fuel to undermine what little authority Macha had. It was doomed to failure from the begininng.
So now a replacement was neccessary, and surely the A's wanted to avoid the pratfalls of their most recent hire. The original "disconnect", of course, was between Macha and the front office, namely Beane, and certain players took advantage of this to further their own aims. Which brings us around to the title and the point of this diary.
Bob Geren and Billy Beane are friends. In case you didn't know. In fact, based on where Geren stood at Beane's wedding, one could even say they are "best friends." Many on AN see this as a potential conflict of interest, or at least a potential problem down the road. However, I see the relationship of Geren and Beane to be a big plus, especially when one considers the downfall of our previous manager. To recap: Macha was canned because the front office didn't entirely believe in him, and with that information readily avaliable, the players undermined him.
Now Geren is in charge. If Beane didn't believe in him, he wouldn't have hired Geren to manage the team he has an ownership stake in. Plus, in many ways Beane is putting his reputation at stake with Geren, at least where it comes to managers and his opinion of them. We can rest assured Geren and Beane will be on the same page at all times, as a matter of neccessity. Now, when a player is pissed at Geren because he isn't getting enough AB's, complaints to Beane will fall on deaf ears. A manager who is fully backed by his front office cannot be undermined by a few disgruntled players.
As for Ron Washington: he deserves the shot he is getting, and I couldn't be more thrilled for him. Plus, going to Texas is the best case scenario for all parties. (Aside from Texas being in our division.) Many on AN cite Washington's popularity, which of course is immense. But what happens when he benches someone or has to discipline a player who felt he and Washington were buddies? Plus, how Beane and Washington would work as a GM/Manager combo is certainly up for debate. Besides, Washington gets to be closer to home in Texas, and will undoubtedly have more freedom. Washington also won't have any buddy-buddy loyalties in Texas, but the respect he earned in Oakland will carry over. In short, managing in Texas is a better oppertunity for Washington than managing in Oakland would be.
Okay, that's enough. There's plenty of room on the Bob Geren bandwagon if anyone wants to join...