The San Diego Padres shockingly hired Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin late on Thursday, according to multiple sources.
The Athletics picked up Melvin’s 2022 option, but he chose to take a three-year deal with the Padres.
Melvin managed the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Athletics in his career, which has spanned 17 seasons. The Athletics won 85 games in 2021, the fewest they’d won in a 162 game season since 2017, and they missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.
The A’s had made the playoffs six times since Melvin took over in the middle of the 2011 season, but they never advanced to the American League Championship Series. Melvin’s never won a pennant, and he’s 10-17 in the postseason. It had not been previously announced that Melvin had interviewed for the position. While Melvin had been in contract with the Athletics, there is not going to be any compensation from the Padres headed to Oakland. Melvin’s widely regarded as one of baseball’s best managers. The opportunity to manage talents such as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado certainly played a role in his decision to leave Oakland.
Melvin began his playing career in Detroit and played for seven teams over his 10-year journeyman career. He was a catcher who never played more than 100 games in a season. After his career ended in 1994, he quickly joined the scouting team of the Milwaukee Brewers. The coach moved quickly up the Brewers’ system, becoming the bench coach in 1999. Melvin then moved to Arizona, being the bench coach for two seasons, the first of which saw Arizona win the 2001 World Series. His success as a bench coach drew the attention of the Seattle Mariners, who hired him for the 2003 season.
He performed well in his first season, winning 93 games, coming up two games short of the wild card spot, though the Mariners would’ve made the playoffs in the modern format. Unfortunately for Melvin, the Mariners collapsed in 2004, losing 99 games, and Melvin was not extended, but he returned to the Diamondbacks midway through the 2005 season. Melvin won his first division in 2007, was voted manager of the year, and Arizona actually took the top seed into the playoffs. Still, they were unable to overcome the ‘Rocktober’ Rockies in the NLCS. After the Diamondbacks finished under .500 in 2008, Melvin was fired just 29 games into the 2009 season.
He took over in Oakland halfway through the 2011 season, and the Athletics won back-to-back division titles in 2012 and 2013.
The 2012 division title earned Melvin his second manager of the year award, but the Athletics lost in the fifth game of the ALDS. More postseason disappointment followed in 2014 when the Athletics lost in the 12th inning of the single-elimination wild-card game against the eventual pennant-winning Royals. Oakland then underwent a rebuild, finishing below .500 in three consecutive seasons, but they bounced back in 2018, winning 97 games. Melvin won his third manager of the year award, with only Bobby Cox and Tony De La Russa having won more. The Athletics also won 97 games in 2019, but both seasons were only good enough for second place in the division, and Oakland dropped both of the single-elimination wild-card games. After Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost retired, Melvin became the longest-tenured manager with one team, and the Athletics won the AL West in 2020 but fell to the Astros in the ALDS.
Melvin’s a popular manager, and he’s been successful in the regular season, going 1346-1272 across his career. He’s won four division titles, made the playoffs seven times, but his lack of postseason success will leave some Padres fans doubting he can get the job done when it matters most. He, like the Padres, has something to prove, and he’s got a talented roster to help him do so.