A's priorities: Re-sign Thomas, then find manager

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics are prepared to take their time in hiring their next manager. For now, re-signing slugger Frank Thomas is a top priority for general manager Billy Beane.

The A's have offered Thomas, 38, a two-year deal, and Oakland is hoping to get something done before the Big Hurt can file for free agency after the World Series. Thomas, who earned $3.1 million in an incentive-laden contract this season, led the A's with 39 homers and 114 RBI in a comeback year.

On Monday, Beane fired fourth-year manager Ken Macha, two days after Oakland's season ended in a sweep by the wild-card Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. The A's won a playoff series for the first time since 1990, ending a string of four straight first-round exits from 2000-03.

"We're talking about possible candidates," assistant GM David Forst said Thursday. "We're in no rush to jump into this. This is an important decision and one we plan to take our time with."

Although a list of external candidates for manager has yet to be formed, the internal candidates are bench coach Bob Geren and third-base coach Ron Washington. On Tuesday, Washington interviewed for the Texas Rangers' managerial opening.

Washington met for about five hours with members of the Rangers' front office, but Texas was set to interview four other candidates before picking Buck Showalter's successor.

"It went extremely well," Washington said Thursday. "They are a class-act organization in Texas. It's just a matter if I'm the one. They know what they're looking for."

Washington and Geren both interviewed for the A's opening a year ago, when the club briefly cut ties with Macha before bringing him back about a week later.

"If I was asked to interview, it would be an honor, just like it was last time," said Geren, who lives in the Bay Area. "It'd be a great job. It's a great place, a wonderful city and fans and team."

Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Bud Black is another candidate for the A's. Black has no previous experience as a manager but is well respected for his work with the Angels' pitching staff. He already has met with the San Francisco Giants about their opening to replace Felipe Alou.

Geren, Washington and the rest of Oakland's coaches have been retained, Forst said, but noted their positions could change depending on who is hired as manager.