Please don’t go

Here’s one for you baseball trivia buffs. What former major league catcher was behind the plate on July 1, 1990 when Yankees right-hander Andy Hawkins pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park … and lost 4–0?

Give up? The answer is Bob Geren, the current Dodgers bench coach for manager Dave Roberts. But just like the 1-0 no-hitter that the Angels tossed against the Dodgers on June 28, 2008 at Dodger Stadium that the Dodgers won, the  Hawkins / Geren no-hitter is not considered an official no-hitter by MLB, but it’s still a fun piece of baseball trivia nonetheless.

The Dodgers were no-hit by the Angels on June 28, 2008 … and won. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

So what does any of this have to do with anything at all? Well, pretty much nothing, except for the fact that Bob Geren has what many consider one of the brightest baseball minds in the game today and is rumored to be among the top candidates to fill the growing list of managerial vacancies that always pop up at this time of year.

Geren, who spent five seasons in the majors – four with the New York Yankees and one with the San Diego Padres – was used primarily as a back-up catcher and ended his MLB career with a slash-line of .233 / .283 / .349 and an OPS of .632. Not exactly Hall of Fame numbers, but solid for a catcher. That being said, it is a well established fact that former catchers often make the best coaches and managers because of their high baseball IQ and from having been 100 percent involved in every pitch of every game they ever played. (If they weren’t, they probably still have the scares to show for it).

With his playing days behind him, Geren was hired by the Boston Red Sox, with whom he managed the franchise’s Rookie and Class A levels from 1995 to 1998. He was eventually lured away by the Oakland A’s organization and served as manager of franchise’s Single-A affiliate Modesto A’s for the 1999 season. He eventually made his way up to the team’s Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats from 2000 to 2002. Ironically, in addition to his very obvious managing skills, Geren was also a longtime friend and former high school baseball opponent of A’s general manager Billy Beane of ‘Moneyball’ fame. Under Geren, the River Cats won Pacific Coast League championships in 2000 and 2001. (A clue).

The then 40-year-old San Diego, California native also managed the Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Baseball League, where he led his team to a league championship during the 2001–2002 season. He would go on to lead a Licey team with guys named Vladimir GuerreroMiguel Tejada and Odalis Perez to a second-place finish in the 2002 Caribbean Series held in Caracas, Venezuela.

Geren began his major league coaching career in 2003 when he was appointed as the Oakland A’s bullpen coach. He was eventually promoted to bench coach, a position which he held through the 2006 season.

On November 17, 2006, Geren was appointed as manager of the A’s when Ken Macha was fired following disagreements with several A’s players and with Billy Beane. In 2007, Geren led the A’s to a 76–86 record and in 2008 to a 75-86 record.

In his five seasons as manager of the Oakland A’s, Geren had a 334-376 (.470) record.
(Photo credit – Christian Petersen)

Geren remained at the helm in Oakland until October 14, 2011, when he was hired by the New York Mets to serve as the team’s new bench coach. In 2015, the Mets won the National League Championship Series and faced the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series, which the Royals won in five games. During his time in New York, Geren often received high praise from Mets general manager Sandy Alderson for his “statistical aptitude” and “strong working knowledge of advanced analytics.” Alderson also often complimented Geren for being “tuned into analytics.” (Sound like anyone you know?).

Sure enough, on December 2, 2015, that anyone – Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman – hired Geren as bench coach for newly-appointed Dodgers manager Dave Roberts who, of course, would go on to win the 2016 NL Manager of the Year title. Geren had replaced longtime Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach, who many thought would replace outgoing Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Instead, Wallach followed Mattingly to Miami, where he still serves as the Marlins bench coach. Geren would later say that his decision to leave the Mets for the Dodgers was because he wanted to be closer to his family in Southern California.

The point to all of this is that under Dave Roberts and Bob Geren, the Dodgers have twice won the NL West and are currently eight wins away from capturing the franchise’s first World Series title in 29 years. Simply put, Geren has proven himself to arguably be the best bench coach in the business and, as such, it would behoove Andrew Friedman and Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi to do everything within their power (and budget) to keep Bob Geren in Los Angeles. However, it is certainly understandable if Geren were to leave the Dodgers to become a manager with one of the growing number of teams looking to fill manager vacancies.

It’s impossible to argue that Dave Roberts and Bob Geren work exceptionally well together. But is it well enough for the now 56-year-old Geren to turn down managerial offers that will undoubtedly soon be coming his way?
(Photo credit – Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

Dodger fans can only hope and pray that the Dodgers take care of Bob Geren … if you get my drift.

 

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One Response to “Please don’t go”

  1. SoCalBum says:

    Many options available to Dodgers, including internally, if/when Geren leaves. Brad Ausmus might be a good candidate with degree from Dartmouth and one of the best defensive catchers when he played. One that might make sense for organization is Gabe Kapler, perhaps not considered as a “promotion” but one that would round out his resume for bigger and better things. Promoting Turner Ward is another option, or perhaps Hasselman who has received good reports for his managing in the Dodgers organization, but both may lack the stats background the Dodgers value in that role.

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