The A’s have had a rather easy time of it this year.
The players have been happy with the manager and the front office. The manager has balanced the players’ needs with the front office’s desires. And the front office has had no reason to complain about much of anything.
It’s not like that in much of baseball, however. The A’s are going to the playoffs. Two-thirds of Major League teams won’t be. One of those is Seattle, and the Mariners made the kind of news Friday that losing teams make entirely too often.
There’s going to be a change of leadership. Manager Eric Wedge announced that he’s told the A’s he won’t be coming back in 2014.
General manager Jack Zduriencik, the man who lured Wedge to the Pacific Northwest three years ago, has a contract through 2014, but in GM terms that’s rather a short-term deal.
What it means is that Seattle could not only go after a manager this off-season, but if a new GM in brought in for Zduriencik next year, he might want his own guy as manager and the Mariners might have to go through that process again in 12 months.
And it’s possible there would be some impact on the A’s. Seattle tried to hire current Oakland batting coach Chili Davis as batting coach a couple of years back and member of the front office are known to think highly of him.
More than that, Davis likes the Puget Sound area a lot, even had a home there until not too long ago, even though he never played for the Mariners.
The loss of Davis is far from inevitable. The season isn’t over and Wedge is going to manage the last three games, after which Zduriencik will have plenty of time to shop for his next manager.
But it would be a big blow to the Oakland organization.
I was talking with a scout for a playoff-bound team who has been following the A’s for a couple of weeks now, and I posed the question of what just makes the A’s so good. He had a seven-word answer: “Bob Melvin, Curt Young and Chili Davis.’’
“These are three of the best at what they do in the game,’’ the scout said, expanding on his original answer. “They know what to do to put players in position to have success.’’
So A’s fans should watch as October turns into November. Davis could be approached with a better job offer. And he might not be the only one.