Geren touts Washington for top skipper

Geren touts Washington for top skipper

ARLINGTON -- Bob Geren and Ron Washington were members of the coaching staff in Oakland together for four years before the managerial job opened up with the dismissal of Ken Macha in 2006.

Both men applied and interviewed for the gig, and Washington, the longtime A's infield coach, seemed a likely front-runner. But the Rangers were searching for a new skipper at the same time, and they seemed in far more of a hurry to name a new head man.

Washington, who had never managed above Class A, was offered the job in Texas and took it. Later that winter, Geren was named Oakland's manager.

Now, they're matching wits in the American League West, and Washington's Rangers are one of the surprise teams in the league, pushing the Angels for the division title and pushing the Red Sox for a Wild Card berth.

For that, Geren says, Washington deserves serious consideration as the AL Manager of the Year.

"Sure," Geren said during Oakland's three-game series here at Rangers Ballpark. "Heck, yeah. ... Wash is a great baseball man, and he's done a nice job over there, absolutely."

Geren added that the credit for the Rangers' resurgence as a contender should be spread around, noting that Texas has long been an offensive powerhouse in desperate need of strong pitching. Through Tuesday's games, Texas had the fifth-best team ERA in the AL.

"They're pitching always seemed to hold them back, but now they've done a complete turnaround," Geren said. "[Rangers pitching coach Mike] Maddux should get a lot of credit for that, and I know [Rangers president] Nolan Ryan's influence has been huge here, too.

"Any time a team turns it around, it's a collective effort of a lot of people. But that doesn't take anything away from the job Wash has done. He should definitely be in the mix for that award."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.