The source said the choice came down Colorado bench coach Jamie Quirk or Geren. Quirk told The Denver Post earlier Thursday he did not get the job. Geren did not return a phone call. Orel Hershiser, the other remaining candidate, did not return a phone call either.
Geren, a 45-year-old Danville resident, will likely be introduced as the new manager Friday. Geren was the A's bench coach last year and bullpen coach the three previous years. He was the first of six candidates to interview for the job back on Oct. 30, after Ken Macha was fired Oct. 16.
Since then, five others interviewed and a sixth, Manny Acta, withdrew his name two days before his interview because he was close to the Washington Nationals job. Two others candidates were hired by other teams: Ron Washington by Texas and Bud Black by San Diego.
Trey Hillman was eliminated earlier this week by the A's as a deadline approached with his current employer in Japan.
Geren is a San Diego native who has known A's general manager Billy Beane since they played against each other in high school, and have maintained a friendship over the years. Many in the industry expected Geren to get the job all along, but Beane said earlier this week that public perceptions of that friendship have not been fair.
When asked Tuesday if he'd hesitate to hire a friend because
``I know the preparation (Geren) has to do is the best preparation for a guy to become a manager,'' Beane said Tuesday about Geren's apprenticeship as bench coach. ``In Ronny's case, we offered (the bench coach job) to him the two years previous and he didn't have any interest in doing it because he likes staying at third, which is fair. I think he likes the activity out there.
``In Bob's case, last year, I think it helped him quite a bit. But until you sit in that chair, the only preparation is really doing it. ''
Geren had the most managing experience of the final three candidates. He compiled a 452-390 record in seven years as a minor league manager. He also managed last year in the Dominican Winter League.
``All you can do is take your best shot,'' Quirk told The Denver Post. ``You can't get a job if you don't interview.''
Three coaches will be needed for Geren's staff: a bench coach to replace Geren, an infielders coach to replace Washington, and a batting coach to replace Gerald Perry.
It's possible Rene Lachemann, a former manager and the A's bench coach in 2005, will be moved back to bench coach. David Justice and Carney Lansford are possibilities as coaches, as is Triple-A Sacramento manager Tony DeFrancesco and Double-A manager Von Hayes.
Thomas deal close
Free agent Frank Thomas is still expected to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, probably Friday. The contract is reportedly two years and $18 million, with a $10 million option or $3 buyout. Thomas must pass a physical still.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told a Toronto radio station, ``we like this guy. He fits well in our lineup. I wish I could say more, but nothing has happened yet.''
A's managing partner Lewis Wolff confirmed speculation of the team's interest in Barry Bonds to replace Thomas at designated hitter. Beane has spoken with Jeff Borris, the agent for Bonds, but the price required to bring Bonds across the bay might be too steep for the A's.
``Statistically, Barry is terrific,'' Wolff told mlb.com at the owners meeting in Chicago. ``But you know how we operate. We're going to stay in a certain budget. So I don't know if that's going to give us any chance with him or not.''
A's release '07 schedule
The A's released their 2007 schedule, which starts Monday, April 2 at Seattle. The home opener is April 9 against the White Sox and begins a homestand that includes the Yankees and Angels. The Yankees and Red Sox come to Oakland just once.
The interleague home games are against St. Louis (June 8-10), a homecoming for manager Tony La Russa, Cincinnati (June 18-20), and the Giants (May 18-20).
The A's road interleague games are in San Francisco (June 8-10), Houston (June 12-14), and at the New York Mets (June 22-24). The A's conclude the year at home against the Angels.