What is Ken Macha thinking? Didn't he realize when he was hired that Billy Beane and the A's don't really care who runs the club in the field so long as he follows orders.
Why does he think he was hired in the first place? Why did he think the A's were indifferent to their previous manager, Art Howe, signing a megadeal to pilot the Mets (however briefly that lasted)?
Like Howe, Macha seems to think that he had a large part in the A's sustained success. Billy Beane knows different. That's why no-name Macha was hired in the first place. Beane seemed to be saying, "Just shut up and fill out the lineup card, make an occasional pitching change. But don't think that you run the show. Don't be like Howe."
Apparently, Macha let it all go to his head, and when negotiations began with the A's they realized that the manager and the team were worlds apart in terms of the money involved. This is a particularly dubious strategy for Macha when Beane is still in the midst of his mini-rebuild of the team.
So while the Tigers lock up veteran manager Jim Leyland and other veterans like Jim Tracy and Lou Piniella troll for work, don't expect the A's to waste more than league-minimum on a new manager. Beane puts every cent in the personnel on the field. So expect another no-name former coach or minor-league manager in the organization to be named the team manager by next spring. Current Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats' manager Tony DeFrancesco and former Sacramento manager and current A's bullpen coach Bob Geren come to mind. (Bench coach Rene Lachmann fits the veteran manager mold to well.)
Macha was 275-211 with a .566 winning percentage in three seasons, which made me wonder if any previous manager had been let go after three years with that degree of success.
As it turns out, I found 54 managerial stints in which a team was run by one man for three years or less and the record exceeded Macha's in Oakland. Of course, there were a number for franchises that became defunct and managers who were still active with the respective club. There still are 43, many Red Sox (Grady Little, anyone?) and Yankee firings of bygone days. There are two from the early Seventies A's dynasties. So Macha's departure from Oakland is hardly historic, but I still find it more than a bit odd.