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Macha's extension on hold.. for now...

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Macha's extension on hold.. for now...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By simplefan on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 02:03 pm:

From the Trib:

Macha's extension on hold for now

ONE THING WE know about the new millennium A's is their sentiment that anybody who takes the field, no matter how valuable, can be replaced.
And likely will be replaced, sooner rather than later, especially if his contract becomes an issue.

So it should come as no surprise that an extension allowing Ken Macha to manage beyond the 2005 season, characterized 16 days ago as a practical formality, is starting to gather dust.

And it might continue gathering dust until such time when Macha walks the path beaten down by so many others, most recently Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder.

There have been no negotiations since A's general manager Billy Beane made an initial offer presented to Macha's agent, Alan Nero, nearly two weeks ago.

"Don't read too much into it," Beane said Tuesday. "It really isn't worth climbing up that tree."

For those of us who recall a time when Jason Giambi was "close" to re-signing with Oakland, it's kind of hard not to wonder whenever something that seemed so close has disappeared from view.

"We thought it was in our best interest that we play it out and see what happens," Macha said from his home in Pittsburgh.

In other words, securing the future suddenly has become a lot less of a priority than it did 21/2 weeks ago.

Beane says there is nourgency to re-signing the manager, and Macha says he's accustomed to one-year contracts.

But there are reasons to doubt whether pen will ever meet paper.

This matter, like so many others regarding the A's these days, traces back to the team's philosophy detailed in the 2003 book, "Moneyball."

Though the book was hailed as exposing a bold new approach to an old game, it also uncovered a system in which the manager's worth is devalued.

If the manager takes it personally, he can feel unappreciated. Or, worse, disrespected.

Art Howe, the manager at the time of the book, was portrayed as a stooge, little more than an amiable functionary whose purpose was to implement a system conceived and designed from above.

Howe often was outside the loop on major personnel discussions, rarely made a big decision on his own and played virtually no role in developing the identity of the team.

In other words, the A's deem it illogical for a middle manager to be trusted with such responsibility.

This partially explains Howe's expendability as well as his comparatively modest salary.

Macha, who had served four years as Howe's bench coach, was promoted after the 2002 season, when Howe left to manage the New York Mets. Macha received a three-year contract, the total of which fell well short of $2 million.

Or, considerably less than the $2.5 million Howe received each year with the Mets.

So here is Macha now, about to enter Year 3.

It was on Jan.25 that our A's beat writer, Josh Suchon, reported the A's had contacted Macha's agent in hopes of extending the manager's contract. Macha and assistant GM David Forst at the time expressed a mutual desire to get it done.

Forst seemed confident that it would be relatively pain-free, reasonably asserting that some urgency in settling the issue might avoid potential distractions as well as speculation in the months to come.

Now, a week before the A's arrive in Phoenix for spring training, there is nothing. Negotiations have gone from smooth expectations to nonexistent.

"It's really been put on the back burner," Beane said.

"It's a non-issue for me right now," Macha said. "My focus is on the team and the upcoming year."

Forgive Macha if he has reservations. He may have a newfound depreciation of his position. After consciously avoiding "Moneyball" for two years, he finally read it during the off-season.

What he read was the same thing others gleaned from the book. That the A's under Beane have created a brand of baseball where the front office dictates concepts to be followed by the man in the dugout.

It would not be far-fetched for Macha to have, in his own mind, substituted his name for that of Howe in certain passages.

When the GM is a celebrity credited for reinventing certain aspects of the game, it's the GM's team. It's always going to be the GM's team. No manager in baseball sits further to the rear of his GM than Macha does behind Beane.

If that manager is working in Oakland, without those dreamy new revenue streams, he also will have the luxury of a relatively small paycheck.

Whether it's Howe or Macha, any manager toiling in a system like that utilized by the A's will have to submerge his ego.

"I'm not in this game for attention," Macha said. "That's not why I'm doing the job I'm doing. When I sit down and have a discussion with my wife or my son ...

"My son, he's 24 years old, working for IBM. He says to me, 'I don't know exactly what I want to be just yet.' Well, I'm old enough to know what I am. I'm a coach. I was put on this earth to be a coach.

"And that's what my focus is. I'm not here to be the center of attention. I know what my purpose is."

Spoken like the perfect man for the job, assuming he decides he wants to keep it.

Monte Poole can be reached at

(510) 208-6461 or by e-mail at

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rayfossefan on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 05:09 pm:

Macha potentially not being re-signed is possibly the best news all winter.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 05:53 pm:

What puppet would take over do you think, if he isn't resigned?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By renobill on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 12:13 am:

Uh let's see:


In that order. Wash or Lache would change this ranking IMO.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By washfan on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 10:05 am:

Beane would not have Sciosia & vice versa BTW off the top of your head & don't look it up, who is Anaslime's GM?

This news is great! Listen many of us did not like Papa Art's relaxed style but he & Peterson got that former nucleus to play. Cacah, I just don't see it happening. Give Wash a shot!

So what if the Field Manager is not privy to personell moves his prime responsibility is in game management & motivating the players. Do that well and in the current media structure you will get recognition. Let's see Terry Francona was a bench coach for some team in 2003 (?) and in 2004 he is the World Series winning manager with a team put together by that bright little kid.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 10:22 am:

The following from the Beaver County Times, this morning. (registration required)

"Oakland manager Ken Macha, a former Pirates' catcher/inf., turned down a three year contract extension offer and likely isn't returning to the Athletics next season. Macha, who lives in Murraysville, would likely become the leading candidate for the Pirates' job if they don't pick up Lloyd McClendon's contract option for 2006."

We can only hope; however, I'm not sure this guy has his facts straight in that I'm not so sure the contract was flat turned down to the point that Macha is not wanting to return next year. I do hope it is true. But anyway, for what it's worth.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 04:11 pm:

So I assume Beaver County (PA?) is Macha's home area? If Macha knows the Pirates job might be available, it makes sense for him not to do an extension with the A's.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By asch on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 04:18 pm:

Macha lives in Murrysville PA - which is funny because of 2 things:
1. it is normally posted he lives in "Export"
2. My wife grew up in Murrysville PA and her brothers went to HS with Macha's son Eric.

I wonder if he knows the job will be available?

I think it would be great for Macha to take the Pitt job for all parties.

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