A's Tab Geren For Top Job

After a long search, the Oakland A's ended up hiring the man most people expected to replace fired manager Ken Macha: A's bench coach Bob Geren. Geren, a long-time friend of A's GM Billy Beane, has been on the Oakland coaching staff for four years.

Bob Geren is expected to be introduced as the Oakland A's 17th manager at a press conference today at 1 pm. The 45-year old skipper is a former major league catcher who spent seven seasons behind the plate for the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. He was a first round draft pick of the Padres in 1979.

Geren beat out a host of candidates for the A's top job. He is a first time major league manager, but he spent seven years as a minor league skipper, including three seasons at the helm of the A's AAA affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats. He also spent one season as the A's High-A affiliate manager in Modesto and three years managing in the Boston Red Sox chain. Geren has two years of experience managing in the Dominican Winter League, although his second stint wasn't very successful, as he was let go late in the season by the Escogido Leones last winter.

Geren has a career minor league managerial record of 452-390. His high total for wins in a season is 90, which came in Sacramento in 2000. He also managed the River Cats only losing season, in 2002.

Tony DeFrancesco, the River Cats current manager, took over in Sacramento from Geren in 2003 and was named Minor League Manager of the Year for that season. DeFrancesco is a candidate to join the A's coaching staff, which needs to fill three coaching positions (bench coach, third base coach and hitting coach). He is currently the manager of the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday.

Geren takes over an Oakland A's squad that won its division last season and advanced to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1992. The A's will be a different looking club next season, however, as they will be without starter Barry Zito and DH Frank Thomas. Zito is expected to sign a long-term deal with either the New York Mets or the Angels of Anaheim and Thomas finalized a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. Left-fielder Jay Payton could also be leaving the club as a free agent, as he has drawn significant interest from a number of clubs, including his former club, the Colorado Rockies.

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