A’s 2011 In Review: Unorthodox Management


The A’s entered the 2011 season with a renewed sense of optimism after posting an encouraging 81-81 record in 2010 under manager Bob Geren.

Following Geren’s first .500 season as A’s skipper, the A’s front office made it a priority to give Geren, a close friend of GM Billy Beane, the tools necessary to compete in the American League West.

The additions of David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, Grant Balfour, and Brian Fuentes were supposed to help make the Athletics a contender during the 2011 season.

The A’s efforts to retool their team, however, were met with some very mixed results.

Oakland’s additions didn’t pay off immediately and it cost Bob Geren his job as the team’s skipper. Geren, however, should share some of the blame for the A’s tumultuous set-back in ’11.

It was quite apparent throughout his tenure with the green-and-gold that he didn’t know what he was doing. His relationship with the players in the clubhouse, like Ken Macha before him, was characterized as being non-existent.

There was a definite disconnection between manager and player and Beane had no choice but to cut ties with Geren. The focus shifted away from the team and most people were caught up in the drama surrounding Geren’s job.

Fuentes called out the manager, calling his coaching methods into question at one point during the season. Former A’s closer Huston Street also took a jab at Geren’s coaching abilities as well this year.

His frequent misuse of the bullpen was evident throughout his tenure in Oakland and his antics were not popular among most A’s fans. He was handed, in my mind at least, his best team and still failed to produce a recipe for success.

While it is true that during most of Geren’s days as skipper the A’s never had much of an offense, Geren didn’t exactly convey the image of a guy who knew how to assemble a lineup card. The guy rolled with Daric Barton, who suffered through a huge disappointing 2011 season, on a nightly basis despite Barton’s poor numbers.

Geren’s lineup cards were often confusing and many players were not entirely appreciative of Geren’s last minute lineup announcements. He often waited until the last minute before posting his game-day lineup cards.

The A’s went 27-36 under Geren in 2011 and went 334-376 overall during Geren’s four-plus seasons as Oakland’s manager. In the end, firing Geren made perfect sense. Geren just didn’t get it done in Oakland, and given the franchise’s recent stadium debacle, Geren’s successor is expected to inherit a big mess.

Now it’s up to Bob Melvin to lead the A’s in these tough, rebuilding times. The A’s are seemingly waving the white flag and are giving up on the 2012 season in December, so Melvin’s job is expected to be a tough one. It won’t be easy, but hopefully Melvin’s approach will make a little more sense than Geren’s unorthodox style.