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Humble Melvin shares credit for top-skipper honor

OAKLAND -- A's skipper Bob Melvin tends to like every aspect of his life organized. So as humbling as it was to land in Oakland on Wednesday morning to dozens of congratulatory text messages and voice mails, the newly named American League Manager of the Year was rather overwhelmed.

"I'm one who does not like clutter on my phone, so it's bothering me at this point," said a smiling Melvin, who flew in from New York. "But I will get to everybody."

Having already spoken to the likes of Dusty Baker and Bob Brenly, Melvin addressed a different crowd about his honor on Wednesday at the Oakland Coliseum, fielding a handful of questions from local media members less than 24 hours after it was announced he had edged the Orioles' Buck Showalter in voting for the prestigious award.

Melvin naturally handed praise back to the organization that hired him last year. Luckily, assistant general manager David Forst was on hand, though, to give credit where it's due.

"Bob stood out as one guy who deserves individual accolades," Forst said. "He had a fantastic year. Bringing him in about a year and a half ago was the best decision we've made for this organization in quite some time, and I can't imagine someone more deserving of this award."

With Melvin on hand, there was reason to revisit the 94-win season that revitalized both the city of Oakland and the team that calls it home. The A's proved numerous doubters wrong by the day, compiling a remarkable second-half stretch that culminated in six straight wins and, on the final day of the season, an AL West title, before they fell in Game 5 of the AL Division Series to the Tigers.

Voting results for AL Manager of the Year, conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America
Manager Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Bob Melvin Athletics 16 12 0 116
Buck Showalter Orioles 12 16 0 108
Robin Ventura White Sox 0 0 12 12
Joe Maddon Rays 0 0 7 7
Joe Girardi Yankees 0 0 5 5
Jim Leyland Tigers 0 0 2 2
Ron Washington Rangers 0 0 2 2

"It's been a bit of a process, really," Melvin said. "At the end of the season, we were all so disappointed, upset, sad, and we really didn't think it was going to end on that particular day, so it's kind of a shallow feeling. Then you go home and it's tough to watch the playoffs and the World Series and all that, because you really feel like you should be there. And then I think, after a couple of weeks, you start to reflect on what we accomplished as an organization, and I'm kind of at that stage right now."

On the flip side, there's a new season to anticipate, and had it started Wednesday, Melvin said he wouldn't mind, because he's "thrilled to death with the team we have now."

"But I'm not sure it's going to look like it does," he said, eyeing Forst. "We have the propensity to make some moves to make our team better."

Melvin is hopeful that some of them involve familiar faces.

With Chris Young in the fold to give the A's five outfielders, it's unlikely that Jonny Gomes will return. Oakland offered Gomes a deal before season's end that was ultimately turned down, and any chances of another one brewing have since slimmed. Still, Melvin isn't ready to shut the door on such a possibility.

"Let's see how the offseason plays out," he said. "You never know. You never say goodbye for sure. There are things that could play out. I like to keep those thoughts and that hope there because he did mean so much to us. He's going to get a nice contract somewhere, and I'm sure he's got a bunch of teams bidding on him right now.

"We did make him an offer, tried to get him signed before the season was over. It just didn't transpire, and then Chris Young became available, and he was a guy they didn't feel they could pass up on, and that's where we are right now."

The A's most pressing offseason need remains acquiring a shortstop. And like Gomes, Stephen Drew is another player Melvin would very much like to have back. But Drew, whose $10 million mutual option was declined by the A's, is likely to garner hefty interest from several teams with higher offers than ones afforded by Oakland.

"I talked to Stephen the other day, but at the end of the day, it's going to come down to what he wants to do, whether it's a long-term deal and somewhere that's closer to where he lives," Melvin said. "Whether this ends up being the right spot, we certainly hope that. I know that he enjoyed it here."

Should the A's move on without Drew, they're likely to explore less costly free-agent options. Among those who fit that bill are Hiroyuki Nakajima, Alex Gonzalez, Ronny Cedeno and Ryan Theriot.

In the meantime, Melvin will take pleasure in the pieces he already has -- including some new hardware.

"The great part and the good feeling in all of this is it validating the season we had," he said. "These awards, they're more about the organization than anything."

Oakland Athletics