Thursday, October 26, 2006

Colorado bench coach Jamie Quirk to interview for manager position

Looks like there is another candidate in the mix for A's manager:

Quirk, 52, spent 18 seasons as a utility player in the big leagues, including three-plus seasons with Oakland, where he was briefly a teammate of Beane's in 1989. Quirk has been the Rockies' bench coach since October 2002; before that, he was a coach with the Royals for eight years and with the Rangers for one season.

The A's already have scheduled interviews with Angels pitching coach Bud Black, who will talk to the front office early next week, as well as A's bench coach Bob Geren, A's third-base coach Ron Washington and ESPN analyst Orel Hershiser, the former Rangers' pitching coach.

According to the Denver Post, Quirk has a positive attitude and is liked by the players:

Among Rockies' players, Quirk is known for his upbeat personality, those traits can't be overlooked given that Ken Macha was dismissed in Oakland because of a "disconnect" with players, as Beane put it.

Macha was fired just two days after the Detroit Tigers swept the A's in the American League Championship series.

"First of all Jamie is ready for this. I have been around a lot of guys, and he's one of my favorite coaches," said former Rockies third baseman Vinny Castilla, now a special assistant for the team. "He's easy-going, has a good attitude and knows the game."

They also interviewed Quirk who proclaimed himself a player's manager:

I would just try to be myself. I don't want to be the kind of manager - and I'm saying this, but I never managed, so who knows if you'd do it or not when the bottom line came - but I would want to be a player's manager. That's a guy who communicates and talks and can listen and chew up a behind when he needs to. To me, that's a player's manager. A player's manager is someone who a player would actually feel comfortable talking to.

That's great for the players but harder to accomplish when the GM is pulling all the strings and the players know it. It'll be interesting to see what happens if Quirk gets the job.

Hershiser apparently is eager to get a crack at the job:

"I've been in the game a long time and there's very few, if any, relationships between GMs and managers that don't have an edge to them," Hershiser said. "You have very competitive people who have risen to the top of their profession and have opinions that might differ. That usually makes things better.

"You want to be able to say we can debate this, fight like brothers inside, then lock arms outside like a solidified army. That doesn't bother me at all. That almost makes me excited."


"I'm very interested in sharing more discussions, and sitting down face to face," Hershiser said. "It will be fun to go through. ...

"It's just an outstanding organization. They've accomplished so much with so little. Now the budget has gone up a little. It's a great young, talented team. It looks like it has a bright future."

From what little information is out there on these guys, here's my take on each of them:

1. Ron Washington - well liked by players and fans alike, he knows baseball and is due for a chance at a manager's position. Claims he knows what is expected of Beane and can handle him.

2. Bob Geren - was bench coach under Macha and is well known as one of Beane's best friends. However, other than being close to Beane he doesn't seem to have any overwhelming pos/neg attributes. Considered a good bet for the next manager.

3. Bud Black - currently the Angels pitching coach. The Angels have a talented pitching staff, but it takes a good coach to keep them competitive and developing. The A's have a number of young developing pitchers, so taking this route might be seen as a positive for our pitching. Would also be a blow to the Angels to lose Black, but the impact of his loss is unknown.

4. Orel Hershiser - previously the Rangers' pitching coach. Not something that looks too good on the resume considering Texas' overall poor pitching but a good portion of that can be blamed on the Rangers' hit friendly ballpark. Again this could be seen as an avenue for developing our young pitchers.

5. Jamie Quirk - currently the bench coach for Colorado. Considers himself a players' manager, whatever that could mean, and apparently is well liked by the players in Colorado. Supposedly has a positive, upbeat attitude, which would be a welcome change from the almost boring Macha.

As I said before, count me in for Ron Washington, joining the popular consensus. He has been working with Beane for years and if he doesn't know how to deal with Beane and understand how things work under Beane by now then he will never know. While he is the clear favorite for fans and players alike, his experience in Oakland - and with Billy Beane - should be taken into consideration. Who would you rather work with you? An experienced guy you have known for years who is popular amongst the staff or an unknown outsider?

The only thing Geren seems to have going for him is being Beane's close friend. That could turn out to haunt him: close friends in a boss-employee relationship don't often remain close friends. Furthermore, his hiring could give the impression to the players that he was only hired because of his friendship with Beane. We'd have the same problem, players who didn't respect their manager. Want to talk about disconnect now?

Black and Hershiser could be brought in as outsiders, reasoning that with so many young pitchers on the team the A's were looking for someone who could really manage the development of the younger players. It also could be a sign that the A's really value pitching and the concentration going forward should be on pitching development. It could also be reasoned that the A's felt they needed to go with a fresh face outside of the organization.

Quirk could also be brought in as an outsider under the same reasoning. But he also could be looked at as someone whom the players might feel comfortable with and at ease talking to. However, he will need to learn to be an organization's manager as opposed to a player's manager and will have to learn to take orders from Beane concerning players, something that the previous two managers both chafed at.


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