In a surprising move, the Padres have named former Athletics manager, Bob Melvin, as their new manager for the 2021-2022 season. I believe this to be a shock considering the list of managers ahead of him was full of future Hall of Famers but nonetheless, let’s dive in and examine their new skipper.
Not even on the list of potential managers for San Diego, Bob Melvin’s name was essentially pulled out of a magician’s hat when the announcement made headlines. Many speculated that he would remain in Oakland for another year, at least, after the Athletics picked up his 2022 option but it seems that is not the case. The Padres offered him a three-year contract and a plethora of talent to aid him in bringing the Friars back to the playoffs come next season. This year certainly didn’t go as planned when former manager Jayce Tingler mismanaged a lot of the talent brought in which was eventually met with injuries, consecutive losses, and verbal arguments amongst teammates in the dugout.
In the midst of all this, however, Tingler was able to help the Padres to their first playoff appearance in a long time in 2019 so he wasn’t a horrible manager, just unlucky. This would most certainly be a huge upgrade for this star-studded, struggling team, and having a veteran manager’s presence could be perfect for righting the ship. Melvin has previously been managed the Seattle Mariners (’03-’04), Arizona Diamondbacks (’05-’09), and the Oakland Athletics (’09-21). He was named National League Manager of the Year in 2007 with Arizona and won it two more times but in the American League when he was managing the Athletics (2012 & 2018).
Keep in mind throughout this hiring process, not once was his name mentioned as a potential suitor for this club. Other names I mentioned in a previous article like Ron Washington, Bruce Bochy, and Buck Showalter were assumed as the potential candidates for the job but what we are seeing here is a wild card being played. A.J. Preller is also on his last leg as Padres GM given he’s hired too many managers who haven’t been able to deliver and elevate the club to where it could be. Having access to players like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Many Machado, two of the best and most talked about players at their positions, should be a good start for Melvin to use for next season.
Out of 2,618 games across his managerial career, Bob Melvin has been able to compile a respectable 1,346–1,272 win/loss record. This is good enough to put him at a .514 winning percentage which is way better than the last three managers for the Padres combined. His mindset is one of very few in baseball that focus on the mental approach to the game as opposed to just looking at the physical side of things. The analysis he brings here could be a huge difference between this team making or missing the playoffs for another year, something they will try desperately to avoid.
Something else that’s interesting to note is the fact that Preller decided to shy away from his strategy to hire rookie managers which I’m sure pleased the San Diego fan base and front office executives with the club. I think that if he decided to go down that road again then it would have spelled doom a lot faster for him had the club been a mess yet again. Fortunately, the Padres made so many offseason acquisitions this season so next year they only need to sit down and evaluate the talent they got to put their best foot forward. Aside from this, only next season will tell if Bob Melvin was the type of manager they needed to run their ball club in a successful way.
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