OAKLAND — Oakland Athletics bench coach Ken Macha, one of the most sought-after managerial candidates in the major leagues, has been contacted by the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs for their open managerial jobs.
The A’s, working out Monday in preparation for the AL division series against the Minnesota Twins, said the organization granted permission to both franchises to meet with Macha, but that it would be sometime after the team’s best-of-five series.
“At this point, the schedule is kind of crowded,” Macha said. “Perhaps I’ll get a chance to talk with them after this series.”
Macha is second in command behind Oakland manager Art Howe, and the two were big league teammates for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the mid-1970s. Macha also played in the majors for Montreal and Toronto.
Late in spring training, he was approached by the Boston Red Sox after they fired manager Joe Kerrigan, but the A’s denied Macha permission to speak to Boston.
“He gets the young guys going and stays on them to play,” Howe said. “I’m glad we didn’t lose him this year. He makes the Energizer Bunny look slow.”
Macha was Pittsburgh’s second choice after Lloyd McClendon two years ago. Macha has interviewed for five managerial jobs in all — Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Toronto and twice with Anaheim.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people before and nothing worked out,” he said. “Hopefully this is the year that something works out.”
Macha has connections to Detroit. He is close with team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. They worked together in the Expos’ organization.
“He’s a guy mentioned that is mentioned with almost every opening that becomes available,” Dombrowski said.
The 52-year-old Macha is under contract with the A’s until through the end of the World Series. He was named bench coach Oct. 30, 1998, and this is his 13th season on a major league coaching staff. That includes stints with Montreal and California.
The Tigers fired manager Luis Pujols on Monday and the Cubs fired interim manager Bruce Kimm on Sunday, before the final game of the season but he managed anyway.
The first two calls A’s president and general manager Billy Beane received Monday were from the Cubs and Tigers.
“My gut feeling is that the interest in Kenny is peaking right now,” Beane said. “His demand is at the top of everybody’s list. He would have been very difficult to replace (in the spring). We told them that we’d like to reserve this week so we can play the Twins, but the next week or 10 days we can work something out.
“We’re trying to be fair to both Ken and the teams. I expect from any of the managerial openings this year, we’ll get a request for Ken.”
Macha is a Pittsburgh native. He had a career major league batting average of .258 with 98 hits, one home run and 35 RBIs.
“He’ll be missed,” said A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, who first got to know Macha as a player when Vucinich was visiting clubhouse manager. “He’s a good baseball man.”