A's dismiss Macha after ALCS defeat

A's dismiss Macha after ALCS defeat

OAKLAND -- After the 2005 season, A's manager Ken Macha and general manager Billy Beane parted briefly because they couldn't agree on a contract. Macha ended up returning about a week later.

Macha is again out of a job, and this time A's fans shouldn't expect any type of déjà vu.

On Monday, two days after the A's were bounced from the playoffs in four games by the Tigers, Beane announced at a press conference that Macha has been dismissed as the A's skipper.

Beane referred to the chances of Macha returning as "highly unlikely" and said that there was a miscommunication between the A's and Macha.

"I felt there was a disconnect at a lot of levels [that] I felt like we could improve upon," Beane said. "Not to point the finger at Ken or anything like that. We just felt like the disconnect was there, and [it] was something that needed to be addressed as soon as possible. We felt that both parties would be better served going in a different direction."

Beane didn't touch on many specifics during the press conference, but he did mention that Macha's association with the front office and player development -- two departments the A's rely heavily upon to be successful -- wasn't up to par.

"That relationship wasn't at the level that we would prefer for that position," Beane said.

Beane said he talked to Macha on the phone at 11 a.m. PT on Monday and said from his perspective, there wasn't any animosity about the dismissal.

"[The conversation] was very cordial," Beane said. "We appreciate the success he has had here with the A's. These [conversations] are never fun. Something you never look forward to. I think the day you start looking forward to [these conversations] is the day you have to check yourself in."

Among possible candidates to replace Macha are three current coaches: bench coach Bob Geren, third-base coach Ron Washington and first-base coach Rene Lachemann. Only Lachemann has previous Major League managerial experience, having served as skipper for the Mariners, Brewers and Marlins, plus a one-game stint for the Cubs in 2002. Washington is scheduled to have an interview for the Rangers position on Tuesday and was also considered for the A's job last season.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in Monday's paper that Macha's job may have been in question because of his relationship with his players. The article cited outfielders Jay Payton and Mark Kotsay as having disputes with Macha and quoted backup catcher Adam Melhuse.

"For the last two years, our relationship has deteriorated to nothing," Melhuse told the Chronicle. "He didn't even speak to me for well over the last month. For me, as a backup, all I want is communication. Every other coach I get along with great, but with Macha, it is not an exaggeration to say he doesn't speak to me -- not 'Hi,' not anything.

"It's tough to go to work every day knowing you're working for someone who doesn't think much of you as a player, and, on top of that, doesn't even acknowledge you."

Beane mentioned the article during the press conference and said the players had nothing to do with the dismissal.

"To start pointing fingers at the players would be completely unfair," Beane said. "This is my decision as the general manager. I take responsibly for this. It wouldn't be fair to comment on rumors. This is my decision with people that work around me. If ultimately it works out better for the players, than great. Maybe it won't, maybe it will."

Beane was very insistent on not blaming his talented players for the decision and also stated that communication and development with young players would be vital for the next chosen skipper.

"One of the things that is critical for us -- because we have so many young players coming through the system -- is going to be a need for a tremendous amount of patience and support," Beane said. "Our communication is very big. It's not just big with the players, it's big with everybody that works in the organization. We have very seamless people here that have been with each other for a long time. It's important that the communication level from [the front office to player development to the manager] exists in a very positive way."

Macha, 56, managed the A's for the last four seasons, compiling a 368-280 record in the regular season and leading the club to American League West titles in 2003 and 2006. He was the bench coach for manager Art Howe from 1999-2002 before being named the 27th manager in franchise history on Oct. 29, 2002.

The A's reached the postseason for a fourth consecutive season in his rookie year of 2003, finished second in the AL West the next two years and then made it to the ALCS this season.

Macha was a former player for Montreal, Pittsburgh and Toronto organizations, while also having a successful career in Japan. After getting started in the Expos' organization, he moved to work with the Angels and then began his managerial track in the Red Sox Minor Leagues, where he managed Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Pawtucket from 1995-98.

Macha was under a three-year contract that expired in 2008 and will be paid $2.025 million over the next two years.

Ryan Quinn is an associate reporter for MLB.com. John Schlegel is an editor for MLB.com and contributed to this article. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.