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Thursday, October 28, 2021

San Diego Padres hire Oakland Athletics’ Bob Melvin as new manager, source says

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin has agreed to a three-year contract to become the San Diego Padres’ new manager, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The A’s had picked up his 2022 option but allowed him to interview for the Padres job.

Melvin, 60, had been the A’s manager the past 11 seasons and had a record of 853-764. Under his watch, the A’s made the postseason six times.

He also has had managerial stints with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks and has an overall record of 1,346-1,272 in 18 seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 28, 2021 at 08:55 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, bob melvin, padres

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 28, 2021 at 11:24 PM (#6049780)
The A’s had picked up his 2022 option but allowed him to interview for the Padres job.
Reportedly, the Athletics were motivated by the prospect of saving on Melvin’s $4M salary:
As to why the Athletics would allow such a successful manager to leave, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests a financial motive. He reports that Melvin was making “about 4MM a year” and that the club intends to slash payroll for 2022. MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently looked into the fact that the club has a tremendous arbitration class this winter that will push the organization into uncomfortable financial territory, and the fact that they are seemingly willing to let a fruitful decade-long partnership with their manager come to end for a few million in cash savings certainly casts an even darker cloud over that situation.
Might be an opening for someone willing to work cheap.
   2. The Duke Posted: October 28, 2021 at 11:59 PM (#6049786)
Yeah, I think they have the biggest arb class in the majors. Like $50 million or something crazy.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2021 at 01:19 AM (#6049804)
If it was money, they would not have exercised his option for 2022. The money is a nice-to-have but not a big deal. Doesn't matter how big their arb class is really, they get $210 M plus half the gate. Outside of arb players they only have $14 M guaranteed payroll. Per b-r they were at $112 in 2021 and even if they pay out the full $61 M extimated for arb players, total payroll currently sits at $92. Last year it looks like they paid about $44 to arb players and with Khris Davis $16 and Canha $7 coming off the books, that's more than enough to pay for the raises.

Admittedly, an odd and unexpected move. Maybe they just decided they didn't want to pay him beyond 2022 but, given the relationship, didn't want to stand in his way this year. It's the A's ... mysteries always abound.
   4. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 29, 2021 at 05:54 AM (#6049810)
Admittedly, an odd and unexpected move. Maybe they just decided they didn't want to pay him beyond 2022 but, given the relationship, didn't want to stand in his way this year. It's the A's ... mysteries always abound.

Yeah, I guess the simplest explanation is that he WANTED to go to San Diego, and they let him. Though I note that he was born in the Bay Area and has lived/worked there most of his life, so it's not like he's "going home."

But San Diego's a very nice city, and the team has a lot of talent and spends more freely than the A's. I can see how it would be attractive.
   5. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2021 at 07:13 AM (#6049811)
Did they let him go or do Padres have to trade for him?

If it's a trade I could totally see the A'd doing this.
   6. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 29, 2021 at 08:04 AM (#6049813)
They did not have to trade for him and the A's aren't getting any sort of compensation.
   7. bob gee Posted: October 29, 2021 at 08:10 AM (#6049814)
It is not a trade. They let him go for nothing, so they're doing the (right) thing and letting him go to a winning team. Art Howe (not good manager) got a player in return, Melvin (good manager) was let out of his contract.

Oh wait - the A's finished 7 games BETTER than the Padres, on a team that is mainly still in their peak years.

I was almost finished with the A's when they let Semien go and he signed a 1 year deal. If it was something huge like a 6/180 deal, I'd say "hey, I understand". But these owners clearly shouldn't own a baseball team if they are blowing up a winning, young team. It was rumored they would blow things up in this offseason - letting Melvin go - for NOTHING - confirms that.

I'm done with the A's now, after more than 20 years.

   8. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2021 at 09:09 AM (#6049820)
This is weird. Is there a chance something badly soured in the A's-Melvin relationship in the 4 months since the option was picked up? Even so, just make the Padres throw you some minor leaguer.
   9. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 29, 2021 at 09:25 AM (#6049821)
But these owners clearly shouldn't own a baseball team if they are blowing up a winning, young team.


The mystery of the A's finances continues on, as it has for a century. A winning team in the richest market in the country acts like a losing team playing in Timbuktu. It makes about as much sense as abandoning Philadelphia to the Phillies all those decades ago, in order to decamp to a tiny, second-banana market in the midwest.
   10. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2021 at 09:44 AM (#6049824)
Back in the day I'm not sure what the A's could have done to stay in Philly and pushed the Phillies out. Also BITD it was mostly about stadium attendance and KC was not a bad pick for that.
   11. Russ Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6049828)
I'm not sure there is a lot of value in making a manager who doesn't want to work for you work for you. A player is different, because they will work harder to make themselves better and, in the end, they are just one player. The manager affects the whole team and has the least control over how well the season goes (at least with respect to the players). Having an unhappy manager just seems like more trouble than its worth, especially if you save $4 million.
   12. Russ Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6049829)
I'm not sure there is a lot of value in making a manager who doesn't want to work for you work for you. A player is different, because they will work harder to make themselves better and, in the end, they are just one player. The manager affects the whole team and has the least control over how well the season goes (at least with respect to the players). Having an unhappy manager just seems like more trouble than its worth, especially if you save $4 million by letting him go.
   13. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:26 AM (#6049839)
Eh, Melvin was under contract for the year. From his side going to SD gives him the 3 year contract which gives him the piece of mind but in sports it's understood that your team can stop you from interviewing. I doubt Melvin would have even considered managing at a level below what he is accustomed to. There is no advantage for him to do so. Having said that no manager likes to be employed without the guarantee that they'll be employed for longer than the season.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6049846)
So who do the A's get? I saw some speculation over Ron Washington. Managing in Oakland is easy, tell him Wash.
   15. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 29, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6049849)
It is not a trade. They let him go for nothing, so they're doing the (right) thing and letting him go to a winning team. Art Howe (not good manager) got a player in return, Melvin (good manager) was let out of his contract.

Oh wait - the A's finished 7 games BETTER than the Padres, on a team that is mainly still in their peak years.

I was almost finished with the A's when they let Semien go and he signed a 1 year deal. If it was something huge like a 6/180 deal, I'd say "hey, I understand". But these owners clearly shouldn't own a baseball team if they are blowing up a winning, young team. It was rumored they would blow things up in this offseason - letting Melvin go - for NOTHING - confirms that.

I'm done with the A's now, after more than 20 years.


I can't begrudge you any of this sentiment.

It's interesting, there are four particular clubs that throughout the 21st century have been owned by people who have zero-point-zero interest in whether the team wins, loses, or plays shuffleboard instead; they will not spend a dime more than they absolutely have to; they're only here to enrich themselves with the revenue sharing checks.

One of those four teams (the Pirates) has been every bit the disaster you'd expect, putting out terrible teams for nearly 30 solid years with the sole exception of one very fluky three year run. A second (the Marlins) have been mostly mediocre with occasional terribleness, but 2020 weirdness aside haven't been near the playoffs in 18 years. But the other two (the A's and the Rays) have had some combination of remarkably smart management and remarkably good fortune, and have put out numerous highly successful teams.

So Moneyball was accurate with its thesis, after all: it is possible for teams whose owners are thieves (let us not endorse their subterfuge and call them "poor teams") to be competitive, if they're fortunate enough to have smart people in the executive suites who stick around a while. But the A's owners are no different from the Pirates' owners.
   16. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2021 at 11:01 AM (#6049851)
There is no evidence that the Rays and A's ownership don't care about not winning.
   17. jmurph Posted: October 29, 2021 at 11:21 AM (#6049858)
There is no evidence that the Rays and A's ownership don't care about not winni

There's tens of millions of dollars of evidence each year.
   18. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:14 PM (#6049877)
Per b-r they were at $112 in 2021 and even if they pay out the full $61 M extimated for arb players, total payroll currently sits at $92. Last year it looks like they paid about $44 to arb players and with Khris Davis $16 and Canha $7 coming off the books, that's more than enough to pay for the raises.


The b-r list shows $16.75M for Davis and $14.25M for Andrus. But Davis was traded for Andrus, with the Rangers throwing in cash to cover half of Andrus' salary (this year and next). The A's then re-signed Davis to a minor league deal after he was released. So the real cost for those two was a little over $7 M, not $31 M.
Likewise, it seems to list the full-year salaries of Starling Marte and and Yan Gomes, who were deadline acquisitions, and I think again had part of their salaries for that last third of the year covered by their old teams.
And a lot of Trevor Rosenthal's salary was deferred. Whether that should count against last year, or the years when it is actually paid, is an accounting issue.

So that estimate of 2021 payroll is high by something like $35 M or more, and it will have to go up somewhat if they keep all the arb guys for 2022 (which they won't).

None of the above, of course, should be taken as a defense of Oakland's horrible, cheap ownership.

As for Melvin, he is an excellent manager. Reasonably smart, level-headed but not shy about forcefully arguing bad calls. Generally beloved by the players. I wasn't always crazy about his bullpen usage this year, as he sometimes over-used the (perceived) best relievers, at the expense of their long-term success, but that's the kind of quibble you can find with any manager. Big loss for the A's, and a good move by San Diego.
   19. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:36 PM (#6049884)
Re 17. How so? The Rays and A's keep winning why? It's way cheaper to lose if you don't care.
   20. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:56 PM (#6049888)
I can understand what's going on with Melvin and the A's. The A's wanted to keep him, but Melvin saw the writing on the wall and the Padres offered him a new, intriguing start. He asked the A's' permission and they said yes, and he took the job.

I can also understand the A's thoughts about Oakland versus Las Vegas. Anyone watching the last few Raiders' games in Vegas on TV would see the brand-new stadium full of rabid fans, and wonder, well, why can't we have that. The A's have struggled in Oakland for almost their entire existence. In the Charlie Finley years the Giants were largely terrible, played in a worse stadium that was hard to get to, with dirt parking lots and without a BART station, and the A's couldn't draw, even though the A's were a new team, with stylish, exciting players like Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, ticket prices were low, and they won THREE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, and barely drew 1 million people per year(one year in that run they drew less than 850,000). Then they followed that with "Billy Ball" and the excitement of Rickey Henderson, and till the A's couldn't draw. It's not that the A's haven't tried, they have had by-and-large good marketing, however they have not been able to penetrate the Bay Area sports media landscape, among other failings, not that they haven't tried.

It should be noted that have had a few years of good attendance, the peak Haas ownership years from 1988 to 1993 where they drew over 2 million people and in 1990 almost broke 3 million. They have also drawn over 2 million people from 2001-2005 and 2014. Since 2014 their attendance has been in the 1.6-1.7 range, even though the teams have been pretty good for the most part. Last year it fell off the cliff to 700,000.

With the A's raising ticket prices (how many times did I go to an A's game last year mid-week where the ticket guy said - "you can sit anywhere you want, we have tickets everywhere"), I have this feeling the A's have decided that Oakland is just not a baseball town.
   21. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2021 at 02:43 PM (#6049927)
Everybody had great attendance in the years before the strike.
   22. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 29, 2021 at 03:27 PM (#6049934)
they won THREE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, and barely drew 1 million people per year(one year in that run they drew less than 850,000). Then they followed that with "Billy Ball" and the excitement of Rickey Henderson, and till the A's couldn't draw.

And in between, they had stuff like a late-1976 Sunday afternoon game against Mark Fidrych in the Summer of Fidrych... one of their better home games that year, but they didn't come close to selling out.
(Fidrych took a complete-game loss on a one-out walk-off hit in the bottom of the 12th. Mike Torrez went 11 innings for the A's. All in 2:42. Different times)
   23. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6049955)
FWIW ... Cot's puts the opening day roster at $84. Add in 1/3 of Marte, whatever they paid on Gomes and Harrison (I know there was some cash in the deal), the bit they owed Chafin and you're up around 90. I don't know what arb figures they're using but Cot's seems to project them currently to $81. IF we plug in that $61 estimate, you get to $86.

But sure, Manaea ($11 M at Cots) and Bassitt ($8.5) will be FA after next year so the A's might decide to cash in on them this winter. Or Montas with 2 years of control left and finally coming off a healthy season might be a great sell high candidate. Olson and Chapman are getting expensive and have two years of control left. Whatever they get in return will seem underwhelming yet, somehow, a couple of years later, will have included useful players on an A's team that somehow wins 92 games.

Probably 1-2 of these guys dealt this offseason, see how it's going and, if it's not going well, trade any remaining pending FAs at the deadline. Repeat next offseason.

Conveniently enough -- Montas acquired in a deadline deal for Rich HIll and Reddick back in 2016; Manaea in the deadline deal for Zobrist in 2015; Bassitt in the offseason rip-off of the White Sox in 2014 for Samardzija (aka the Semien trade).
   24. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 30, 2021 at 09:00 PM (#6050161)
Sounds like one of the leading candidates is Ron Washington, who has spent a lot of time in Oakland and is beloved by the fanbase. Maybe if the A's can pull that off they will win back some support from the fanbase.

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