A's pick up options for manager Bob Geren and second baseman Mark Ellis
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Manager Bob Geren and second baseman Mark Ellis are staying with the Oakland Athletics for at least the near future.
The A's picked up contract options for Geren and Ellis on Monday, locking up Geren through 2009 and Ellis for the 2008 season. Geren, who had extensive managerial experience in the minors and overseas and is a longtime friend of general manager Billy Beane, signed a two-year contract for his first managerial job last November.
"I appreciate his vote of confidence," Geren said. "I was thinking back on it and I've been in the organization for nine years. It's a wonderful place to work and everyone's been great. The minor league system is second to none. The best thing about it is through all the injuries and transactions all year, we've discovered some wonderful young talent. It will be a fun team to be leading."
Ellis has been one of Oakland's most reliable players in a disappointing, injury-filled season. The A's will finish with a losing record for the first time since 1998, ending eight straight years of winning seasons -- after winning the AL West and reaching the AL championship series last year.
"With Bob, he's done an outstanding job in what has been an incredibly difficult year with all the injuries and all the players we lost," Beane said in a telephone interview. "His energy and optimism has helped get us through a very difficult year and one we hope never to experience again. He deserves it. Considering the quality of players we lost, the fact we've been as competitive as we have been is a testament to his leadership."
A message left for Ellis wasn't immediately returned Monday, when the team had a day off in Boston before opening a two-game series with the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
The 30-year-old Ellis has career highs this season with 19 home runs, 76 RBIs, 155 hits, 82 runs, 32 doubles and nine stolen bases. His 56 career homers and 259 RBIs as a second baseman are the most in Oakland history, and his 76 RBIs in 2007 are the highest single-season total by an Oakland second baseman.
"He's always given us that Gold Glove-caliber defense, and this year he really stepped it up offensively," Beane said. "We didn't have to pick it up until November, but thought it would be a nice gesture to pick it up now and not to drag it on and wait until the last minute."
The 46-year-old Geren was the favorite to be manager all along, but Beane took his time interviewing several other candidates before promoting the former major league catcher to his first managerial job in the majors. The A's did it exactly a month after firing Ken Macha, whose trip to the AL championship series wasn't enough to save his job.
Geren has been on the big league coaching staff since 2003, first joining the organization in 1999 as the manager of Class-A Modesto before spending the next three years as skipper for Triple-A Sacramento.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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