I've stated many times that I think that a manager is as good as the players provided for him. Oh sure he can royally screw up a good thing, but my feelings on baseball managers is that they get too much credit only when a team wins it all (see Guillen, Ozzie) and get too much blame for when a team falls short.
I've seen this all across baseball with people in New York blaming Joe Torre for the Yankees demise. People in Anaheim often complain about Scioscia. Jim Leyland was not the legend he was in Pittsburgh in Colorado because he didn't have the players.
Ultimately, a manager's job is to not get in the way of success and to set up the players for success. Macha did a good job of not screwing up a good thing this year. Well, he did contribute a bit to the A's demise in the ALCS, but how much of a difference it made in the big picture is arguable. I think Detroit was clearly the better team.
As for our now open position, I'd pretty much be happy with any of the four internal candidates. DeFrancesco, Geren, Washington and Lachemann. Although all of them have their drawbacks.
DeFrancesco, Washington and Geren have never been been a manager at the major league level. Although both Geren and DeFrancesco have been successful managers at Triple-A in the A's minor league system. Lachemann was a major league manager, just not a successful one.
With Geren you've got the concern being whether or not Beane and Geren can work together successfully in spite of the fact that they're best friends. Beane, as many have seen by reputation, can be a hardass. That doesn't always fly in friendships.
Washington is the sentimental favorite, but his belief in being more aggressive could wind up butting heads with the A's front office. Of course Washington knows this already. So if he was taking the job, I imagine the understanding will be that the style of play is dictated by the front office, not the manager.
DeFrancesco is a younger guy who works well with younger players. He's the perfect minor league manager for the time being, so the chances of the front office wanting him to stay in that role to groom future A's major leaguers are high.
I think the only thing standing between Geren and the manager's office are whether or not Beane and he decide that can work together and that the fact that they are best friends won't impact their working relationship. If anyone should understand Beane and his approach to the franchise, it would be Bob Geren.
Of course, that's only of the internal candidates. That doesn't take into account the fact that Beane might look elsewhere. The caveat being that people need to understand how this organization works. And that fact leads me to believe that the chances of the next manager coming from the four candidates above is very high.
Any way, I wound up wondering today, what manager will AN be happy with? Most of you seem to be calling for Ron Washington, so my question is will that be the only manager you'll be happy with - especially out of the internal candidates?