The A’s front office just lost a key man to a general manager’s job with Farhan Zaidi going to the Los Angeles Dodgers as GM, a move that was made official Thursday.
“Our goal now is to find the next general manager hire,’’ A’s GM Billy Beane said Friday morning.
In the last dozen years, the A’s have lost three high-ranking members of the front office to GM jobs, J.P. Ricciardi to Toronto after the 2001 season and Paul DePodesta to the Dodgers just before the 2004 season in 2004 and now Zaidi.
And that doesn’t count the ongoing requests from other clubs interested in hiring away Beane’s top lieutenant, David Forst. Forst, the A’s GM-in-waiting, has opted to stay put and is in his 15th year with the organization.
It will be interesting to see if the A’s move quickly to fill the void left Tuesday with the news that assistant general manager/director of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will be moving south to take over as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Zaidi, who has been working as part of the A’s brain trust for the last 10 years, will be named Dodgers’ GM by Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman later this week, has been a key adviser of A’s general manager Billy Beane for the last five years.
The Philippines-born Zaidi, 37, was given the title of assistant general manager before the 2014 season, his fifth as the director of baseball operations.
David Forst, the long-time presumed heir to Beane, remains as the club’s assistant general manager. He has been with the A’s for 15 years.
Still, Beane has been used to being able to call on a small group of long-time dedicated baseball pros, including Forst, Zaidi, director of player personnel Billy Owens (16 years), director of pro scouting Dan Feinstein (the last three years and a stint from 1994-2004), director of player development Keith Lieppman (23 years) and director of scouting Eric Kubota (30 years).
While the Tigers have made a qualifying offer to their ace, Max Scherzer, and the Royals have made a qualifying offer to their ace, James Shields, the A’s have done no such thing with their ace, Jon Lester.
They haven’t done it with Jason Hammel, who isn’t an ace but who was very good after getting off to a rocky start with his new club.
The deadline is this evening, 9 p.m., and it won’t happen in either case.
Why? Well, baseball rules don’t allow it. The only players who can get qualifying offers are those who have been with their 2014 team for the entire season. In the case of Lester and Hammel, they came to the A’s in mid-season trades and aren’t eligible for a qualifying offer, which this season is pegged at $15.3 million.
Now that Madison Bumgarner is going to stop grabbing all the headlines, which should happen any day now, the clock is up and running on the 2015 season for the A’s, and for everyone else.
The A’s had visions that starter Jon Lester would have the same kind of impact on Oakland’s October as Bumgarner did for San Francisco’s. Lester, after all, had the second-best World Series ERA, 0.43, in history before Bumgarner’s MVP performance against the Royals lowered his career World Series ERA to 0.25, pushing Lester to third.
Now Lester is all but gone from the A’s. He said he loved his time in Oakland, and the A’s would like to have him back, but the money doesn’t work. Lester is going to get a contract in the range of $150 million from someone – the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Cubs lead the list of the usual suspects – that would all but break the bank in Oakland.
Kirk Gibson, who had been thought to be on the short list as the next bench coach of the Oakland A’s, will not be heading to Oakland, sources told this newspaper Friday.
Gibson, a longtime friend of A’s manager Bob Melvin and one of Melvin’s coaches when he managed in Arizona, was fired by the Diamondbacks in the final week of the season.
And with Dave Magadan apparently having pulled out as a candidate for the A’s batting coach, Oakland management seems to be getting closer to settling on the makeup of the coaching staff for the 2015 season.
The A’s are negotiating with current Angels’ assistant batting coach Dave Hansen to take over for Chili Davis as batting coach. Hansen previously has spent time as batting coach for the Mariners and the Dodgers.
Brandon Moss will need about three months before he can start running again after having surgery on his right hip Tuesday.
He’ll spend the next month on partial weight-bearing crutches after Dr. Thomas Byrd repaired a torn labrum as well as some other general cleanup to alleviate the impingement in Moss’s hip.
The good news for the A’s is that there’s no need for microfracture surgery for Moss, which means he could be good to go by the time spring training rolls around mid-February.
Moss first felt hip pain in May but made the American League All-Star team for the first time. After hitting 268 with 21 homers and 66 RBIs up to the All-Star break, Moss saw his production fall off substantially in the second half of the season,
The A’s have been able to add another strong candidate for the club’s open batting coach position.
When Chili Davis took off to be the batting coach with the Boston Red Sox, Oakland thought about trying to hire Dave Hansen, the former Dodgers’s and Mariners’ batting coach who was the Angels’ assistant hitting coach this past season.
But it seemed as if the Angels weren’t going to give the A’s permission to talk to him.
That changed Wednesday when Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that Angels’ general manager Jerry DiPoto said he’d given the A’s permission to talk with Oakland. More than that, Hansen has already interviewed with the A’s and a decision could be forthcoming by this weekend.
Outgoing batting coach Chili Davis said the A’s made a good effort to try and keep him in the organization, but when Oakland couldn’t go to three years on a contract the way Boston did, that started him on the path to joining the Red Sox.
Length of contract was important, but it wasn’t the only reason he’s in Boston. There were expectations that he’d go to the Yankees, but he’d worked in the minor leagues with Boston before joining the A’s under manager Bob Melvin three years ago, and that held some sway, too.
“The A’s tried, but it just wasn’t sufficient,’’ Davis said told this newspaper Monday. “I wanted to know I would be somewhere more than two years.
“Everybody had me going to Yankees because I played there,’’ Davis said. “It was strong for me, knowing (GM Brian) Cashman and (manager Joe) Girardi. What really pulled me the other way was that I had worked for the Red Sox and I was familiar with some of the staff and a lot of the players.’’
The A’s will have to make room for two new coaches heading into 2015 with Chili Davis having agreed to move to the Boston Red Sox Sunday as the new batting coach.
The A’s had already lost their bench coach when Chip Hale left last week to take over as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The A’s likely will move quickly to find a replacement for Davis. One highly qualified candidate would be Dave Magadan, who spent the last couple of years coaching the Texas Rangers. With the hiring of a new manager, Jeff Bannister, all Rangers coaches have been told they are free to explore other options.
Two men who have been hitting coaches before for A’s manager bob Melvin when he managed the Arizona Diamondbacks might be of interest. Rich Schu is the current Washington Nationals batting coach and Kevin Seitzer is the batting coach with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Melvin also worked well in 2004 with Paul Molitor as his batting coach in Seattle, but both men were fired at the end of the season. Molitor is a coach with the Minnesota Twins currently.
Looking in house, minor league roving hitting instructor Marcus Jensen might get a look, as might Triple-A hitting coach Greg Sparks and Double-A hitting coach Webster Garrison.