By Jason Wojciechowski on October 17, 2006 at 6:17 PM
So Ken Macha is out. For those of us who tear our hair out at some of his decision-making, this isn't soon enough. On the other hand, that's what we said about Art Howe, and look what the change to Macha brought: the same success the A's would've had no matter who was at the helm.
The manager's job in Oakland is essentially to stay out of the way and keep the personalities together. The notoriously cranky Frank Thomas and Milton Bradley weren't problems this year, but Macha apparently angered certain players (like Mark Kotsay, notably) with insensitive comments when they were injured.
The name Larry Bowa keeps resurfacing, which strikes me as a terrible idea. The A's didn't lose in the ALCS because they were too relaxed and need a taskmaster to come after them. Bob Geren has been groomed for this job for years, and here, from the outside, I think it's his to lose. Ron Washington may be tempted away by another team this year, so I could see a situation where the A's offer him the manager's job just to keep him in Green and Gold. Orel Hershiser's name has also been bandied about. If intelligence on television is any indicator, Hershiser looks like a stellar candidate. If any of the people that have been mentioned have the chance to turn into the next Earl Weaver or Davey Johnson (both of whom are still alive, last I checked - you listening, Billy?), it's Hershiser.
In other news, Sweet Lou wants Alex Rodriguez to join him in Chicago. This sounds like a fantastic idea to me. First and foremost, it'd allow me to openly root for A-Rod again. I'm sick of being conflicted because he's a Yankee. Put him on the Cubs and I can become a happy fan again.
What's odd, though, is that the idea is apparently to put him at third base. Has he really been over there long enough that we've forgotten he was a marvelous defensive shortstop? What I saw of his errors this year were not range problems, but just yips throwing the ball, little stupid things. I don't think they're an indicator that his tools have declined to the point where he couldn't man the 6-hole anymore.
On the other hand, he's a significantly larger man than he was 3-5 years ago. It's possible that had he been entrenched at shortstop all this time, it'd now be about time to move him off of the position anyway. Back to the first hand, though, Cal Ripken stayed at short for a lot longer than age 31.
Besides which, if the Cubs were to acquire Rodriguez, planning to play him at short would free up the possibility of not trading Aramis Ramirez in the deal. A left side of the infield of Ramirez and Rodriguez would look pretty sweet, even after Rodriguez's previous left-side partners: Derek Jeter, and before him Hank Blalock.