Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” originated the oft-repeated claim that A’s GM Billy Beane was making game decisions while field manager Art Howe was nothing more than a stooge (Howe’s tenure in Flushing seems to lend validity to this charge). Following Ken Macha’s departure from Oakland this week, the SF Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins says a spine will be surplus to requirements in Beane’s next hire.

No established, self-respecting manager would even think of working for A’s general manager Billy Beane (above), let alone get an invitation, because Beane wants a pushover. He wants dull. He wanted Art Howe, then Ken Macha, and the choice now could be between organization mainstays Bob Geren and Ron Washington.

Nothing against those two men, by the way. Washington, in particular, has for years struck observers as a future manager. It’s just remarkable to consider that the A’s have perhaps the finest assemblage of young talent in the game, complete with a marvelous clubhouse atmosphere, and the manager will be one of those “just glad to be here” guys who might be pretending, just a little, that he’s cool with everything.

The new managers of the A’s and Dodgers will have to buy into a philosophy in which they may not completely believe. Bring your loyalty and a smile; leave your identity behind.