While A's owners have been blaming the Coliseum and Oakland for their failures, now we finally know that their manager, and the faulty judgment of the owners that hired him, are more to blame for scaring away free agents.
Lew Wolff, John Fisher and Billy Beane have publicly blamed the antiquated Oakland Coliseum for their inability to sign players like Marco Scutaro. Each A's co-owner then has used that notion to justify why they "need" to move the A's out of Oakland.
Well, their theory should be laid to rest after the big blowup between A's manager Bob Geren and reliever Brian Fuentes, along with ex-A's closer Huston Street criticizing Geren from Colorado. We don't think the Coliseum is chasing away free agents -- instead it's the A's bumbling manager who seems to be hated by most of his players.
Want proof? Look at the recent article by John Shea, the S.F. Chronicle's national baseball writer, who listed many of Geren's feuds with players and coaches after just four seasons as manager. Here's the short list, in Shea's words:
2007-In Geren's first season, "several players expressed dissatisfaction with Geren. He was called 'wishy-washy' by one player, 'oblivious' by another."
2007-After that season, three coaches were fired, including Bob Schaefer, who was quoted as saying, "I didn't want to come back anyway," and added that the staff's experience wasn't always put to the best use by Geren.
2008-Huston Street had to be separated from fighting Geren by shortstop Bobby Crosby after getting pulled from a game in Detroit. On Tuesday, Street texted this harsh message about Geren: "Bob was never good at communication ... it was a sentiment reflected in many conversations during the two years I spent in Oakland, and even recently when talking to guys after I left ... He was my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27. (emphasis mine) I am very thankful to be in a place where I can trust my manager."
Players around the league all talk with each other and you can bet that the word has been out on Geren since at least 2007. It wouldn't be surprising if Geren was a negative factor in Scutaro's decision to choose Boston over Geren's A's when he was a free agent in early 2010.
2008-Mike Sweeney was furious with Geren for not allowing him to play more in a series in Kansas City. On a team flight, Sweeney had a blowup with Geren and was released by the A's shortly thereafter.
Shea listed other examples of Geren's poor people skills, questionable in-game strategy decisions, and his inability to do much but alienate the players he gets paid to motivate.
Also, don't forget the 2009 season, when Mychal Urban wrote that veterans Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra also disliked Geren and that Giambi's vocal clubhouse criticism of Geren's managing ability led to the A's releasing him in mid-season.
In spite of all that, Beane and Wolff have let Geren manage this team for more than four(!!) seasons. Is that sound judgment?
Judgment used to be what Billy Beane's Oakland A's were known for. That's what Moneyball was all about. Funny how things change. I mean, the same guys (Beane & Wolff) who chose Bob Geren over Ron Washington, also chose Eric Chavez over Miguel Tejada and kept choosing Bobby Crosby over Marco Scutaro.
Now, they are telling you they want to choose another city over Oakland. The problem for Wolff and Beane is that that decision is a judgment call. And you know their track record on those.