What To Do About Geren and Fuentes?

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 03: Brian Fuentes #57 of the Oakland Athletics is taken out of the game by manager Bob Geren after he gave up three runs to the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 3, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The furor over Bob Geren's tenure as Oakland's manager hit new levels yesterday, as Brian Fuentes slammed his manager after the game. From beat writer Jane Lee:

What did you think of the situation you were placed in tonight?

Fuentes: It’s surprising yet not surprising all at the same time.

How do you feel with the way the manager has handled you as a reliever?

Fuentes: Pretty poorly.

How much communication do you have with him?

Fuentes: Zero.

It's pretty rare to see a player so thoroughly blast his manager like Fuentes did last night. The next question is this: What do we do now? Fuentes, believe it or not, didn't even hand the ball to Geren when he was taken out of the game—he put the ball in catcher Kurt Suzuki's hand and walked away, never acknowledging Geren's presence. That's not exactly the kind of atmosphere I'd like to see, and it's something that absolutely should not be allowed to continue.

The way I see it, the A's have three options, one far more viable than the other two.

1. Fire Bob Geren. During his rant last night, Fuentes said something that made me stop and stare, even compared to the rest of what he was saying. "I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed." If true, it means that Geren has lost the clubhouse, and that's just not an acceptable position for a major league manager. Or any manager, really, baseball or not. If the players believe that Geren doesn't know what he's doing, I don't see any downside in firing him, especially considering his questionable in-game moves as of late.

2. Cut Brian Fuentes. A bad choice. Win-loss record aside, Fuentes is a decent reliever. He's been overworked this year and put in situations that aren't his forte, but he's not a bad arm to have. In spite of the struggles, he still has a 3.52 FIP, mostly because he's only allowed one home run in 21 innings. And against lefties, he's been downright fantastic, with a 2.53 FIP and a microscopic 1.69 BB/9 rate. On top of all of this, replacing Fuentes in the bullpen would likely mean Fautino de los Santos would have a permanent spot on the roster. I'm not opposed to that in the future, but de los Santos has only five career games in AAA, and he walked four in just six innings. I'd hate to see what would happen when major league hitters with major league plate discipline face him right now.

3. Do nothing. Better than cutting Fuentes, but not great. It's likely that this conflict will fizzle out given time, but is that really the best option? If Geren has lost the clubhouse, time isn't going to solve it.

Geren needs to go. For the sake of this talented team, something needs to change.


Current Series

Angels lead the series 1-0

Mon 05/23 WP: Scott Downs (2 - 1)
SV: Jordan Walden
LP: Brian Fuentes (1 - 7)
1 - 4 loss

Oakland Athletics
@ Los Angeles Angels

Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 7:05 PM PDT
Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Guillermo Moscoso vs Dan Haren

Mostly clear. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 70.

Complete Coverage >

Wed 05/25 7:05 PM PDT
Thu 05/26 12:35 PM PDT

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