After all the trade deadline hullabaloo, things have quieted down a bit on the news front for the Oakland Athletics. No immediate roster moves are on the horizon, except perhaps to insert Pat Venditte for Arnold Leon when Venditte and the A's believe he is at full health. August and September will be time for auditions for next year's club, and a chance to gain clarity on what Oakland's biggest offseason needs are.
In last Thursday's San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Slusser reveals some of what's probably going to be happening during the offseason:
- Billy Beane says, "What we probably won't do is use prospects for acquisitions." So no Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell for Ben Zobrist-type deals. Slusser suggests the free agent market is where the A's will try to compete in 2016, though Beane says, "That's not to say we won't make trades."
- Bob Melvin is "very much in line for a long-term extension, something that is likely to be announced at the end of the season."
- It's a "strong bet" Billy Beane and David Forst will be given title bumps to something like "President of Baseball Operations" and General Manager, respectively.
Bob Melvin extension
Bob Melvin took over from Bob Geren on an interim basis in 2011, and was signed to a three-year deal at the end of that year. The A's rewarded Melvin taking his team to a division title in 2012 with an offseason two-year extension that runs his current contract to the end of 2016.
I'm struck by how much harmony there is between Melvin and Beane, and Melvin and the players (occasional twitter outbursts notwithstanding). Billy Beane and Bob Melvin work together well, and the players trust Bob Melvin. Compared to Beane's previous managers, there is a good relationship going on by all accounts.
Art Howe never said, "You're killing this team Billy," but the relationship between Howe and Beane was perhaps one of elder statesman against young upstart, and not as friendly as hoped. Macha had problems with both the front office and with his players. Bob Geren was a terrible communicator with his players, though he was a close friend of Beane's.
But with Bob Melvin, it feels like the only people that have anything resembling a beef with Melvin are (some of) the fans, who are split between whether Melvin is a so-so or bad field general (especially with bullpen usage) or whether his players just do not have the talent this year to be successful. The players know Bob Melvin has their backs. The front office knows Bob Melvin is someone open to their ideas and has a valuable role in maintaining a good clubhouse atmosphere.
Billy Beane and David Forst title bumps
President-GM front office structures are all the rage these days, with Arizona, San Francisco, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago notable examples. I guess one wonders what sort of super-GM Billy Beane will become if David Forst is promoted to general manager. Brian Sabean, for example, is spending a lot more time doing "hands-on scouting, including internationally." Will there be a substantial change in Beane's role?
This would be the first major change to the front office's structure since Beane took over in 1998 and David Forst was promoted to assistant general manager in 2004. But will this be anything more than a title inflation?