A's Hire Geren, Consider Bonds

Associated Press
Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bob Geren began the communication process from the moment he became the Oakland Athletics' new manager, dialing every player on his roster to let him know there are no major changes in store for the defending AL West champions.

Yet one key difference apparently will be the strong communication lines, something several A's players said after the season was a problem at times under fired manager Ken Macha.

Oakland gave Geren a two-year contract yesterday, promoting the former major league catcher to his first managerial job in the majors after extensive experience managing in the minor leagues and winter ball.

"I'm just thrilled to death to do it," Geren said when introduced at the Coliseum. "The last 24 hours have been one of the most exciting days of my baseball life for sure."

The A's month-long search for a manager spanned from Japan to New York -- then ended where it started with Geren, the man who sat alongside Macha all season and someone General Manager Billy Beane has long considered ready for the top job.

Geren filled the final managerial vacancy in the major leagues this offseason when he was hired Thursday, exactly one month after the A's dismissed Macha.

Meantime, Beane has had conversations with Barry Bonds's agent, Jeff Borris, about the 42-year-old slugger, who has played the past 14 seasons with the Giants.

Bonds, who became a free agent after the season at the conclusion of a $90 million, five-year deal with the Giants, also is being pursued by San Francisco.

· BLUE JAYS: Toronto finalized an $18.12 million, two-year contract with Frank Thomas, then turned their attention to baseball's most prized commodity.

"I think pitching at this point is our number one priority," GM J.P. Ricciardi said. "It's going to be an interesting market."

· DODGERS: Former AL batting champion Bill Mueller, limited to 32 games with Los Angeles last season before undergoing knee surgery, retired and will serve as a special assistant to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.

Mueller, 35, hit .326 and had career-high totals of 171 hits, 19 homers and 85 RBI with the Red Sox in 2003, when he won the batting title. He was a member of Boston's 2004 World Series championship team.

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