The Oakland A’s will “address” the contract of manager Bob Melvin after the season, reports Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports. The report was confirmed by Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.
Melvin is a front-runner for the 2018 AL Manager of the Year Award. He led the A’s to the postseason in a summer in which they were widely expected to finish in last place, all despite having the lowest payroll in the majors and losing their entire starting rotation to injury. If he wins then it would be his third such award, having also won in 2007 and 2012, and he would become just the eighth manager in the 35-year history of the award to win thrice.
This has been Melvin’s seventh full season as the A’s manager, after taking the helm midway through 2011. Before that, he also spent time skippering the Mariners and Diamondbacks, and his first MOTY award came with Arizona. His current contract with Oakland runs through the end of the 2019 season.
The topic of Melvin’s contract situation is not a new one this year. Earlier in the summer, Slusser commented on how unusual it was for the manager, along with VP Billy Beane and GM David Forst, to continue with such short-term commitments from the team. That was especially true after the A’s denied the Yankees’ attempt to interview Melvin last winter, but without extending him themselves. Whether this recent update about imminent offseason talks was always part of the plan, or was spurred by Oakland’s amazing second-half charge into the playoffs, is unclear at this time.
In Heyman’s article, he also opines that Beane and Forst could have extension talks this winter. Both of their contracts also run through only the end of 2019.
Get it done. Melvin is an excellent manager and I see no reason to move on. Everyone seems to like him, from the players to the front office to the fans to the media, and that’s not something that every team can say about their skipper. This is also the second time in seven years that he’s led an upstart Team of Destiny into the playoffs out of nowhere, and at some point you have to wonder if there’s something in his skill set that contributes to those results.
Over the years, Melvin has shown the ability to adapt to the roster that is given to him. Back in 2012 that meant heavy use of platoons, and a willingness to rely on untested rookies when that was all he had available. In 2018 it meant getting creative with the bullpen, especially earlier in the season when he boldly broke setup/closer norms to ask for pivotal extra work out of Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen. No manager is perfect in every decision he makes, but rarely do I feel like the A’s lost a game because of Melvin and more often than not he figures out the proper buttons to push.
NewBob isn’t new anymore, but he’s still doing a superb job. I hope the A’s keep him around for a long time.