There are a lot of stories running around about Geren's firing, one of the most interesting being the stream over at Baseball Nation.
I personally believe that Geren isn't gone for any other reason other than the fact that the A's young pitching was dropping at a ridiculous rate. Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson, Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy all dropping off to injury issues. Now some would say Ross was destined for the DL with his funky pitching motion and McCarthy has injury issues which everyone knew about. But whenever I've chatted with Billy about this team in the past, he always went on about how the only way for a small market to compete in today's baseball is great young pitching. And Beane had brought together some of the most impressive young arms in the game.
I firmly believed that had the A's pitching staff remained healthy, this slide would not have happened. Yes the offense is still putrid but a putrid offense can still squeak out wins with great pitching. Geren's cardinal sin, IMO, was that he wasn't able to keep the kids healthy. Now I'm not sure if that's because he overworked them (remember the bullpen was in shambles at the beginning of the year so it was easy to lean on the young arms a little much) and it's probably up to much smarter people than myself to figure that out, but I think the thing that a manager controls more than anything else is the pitching. Sure lineups too but lineups seemingly have a much smaller impact in the grand scheme of things. Sure they're fun for us to play around with, but they don't impact a game the way that pitching decisions and matchups do.
And I believe this was the fundamental issue with Geren.
I was on a conference call today and someone asked me what I thought about the move. My reply was that I think the impact of a manager is waaaaaay overrated by most fans but the one area where a manager can be judged is how effectively he handles a pitching staff. And I don't care if you're my best man at my wedding but if you mishandle my best asset, which is young, great pitching and wind up contributing to that staff winding up on the DL (whether that's real or perceived), you're going to wind up looking for work.