Giants introduce Melvin as next manager

October 25th, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants’ manager search came into sharp focus over the weekend, with Bob Melvin emerging as the obvious frontrunner after he received permission from the Padres to formally interview for the position.

A match that felt increasingly inevitable became official on Wednesday, when Melvin signed a three-year deal to become the 39th manager in franchise history. Melvin will replace Gabe Kapler, who was dismissed on Sept. 29 following a four-year run at the helm of the Giants.

The move represents another homecoming for Melvin, a Bay Area native who attended Menlo-Atherton High School and Cal before catching for 10 big league seasons, three of which came with the Giants (1986-88).

“It’s kind of a surreal moment for me,” said Melvin, who was introduced during a press conference at Oracle Park on Wednesday. “I grew up around here, as everybody knows, an absolute crazy Bay Area sports fan. Whether it was Cal and Stanford, whether it was the 49ers and the Raiders, whether it was the Giants and the A’s, the Warriors, I was into it all. I was walking over here today thinking, ‘Talk about full circle.’ For me, this isn’t even something as a kid you can even dream of.

“The Giants are so synonymous with the city. San Francisco is the Giants, and the Giants are San Francisco. I don’t think anybody understands that more than I do. No one is going to be as responsible and caring and know that this matters to the city.”

A three-time Manager of the Year -- twice with the A’s in 2012 and 2018 and once with the D-backs in 2007 -- Melvin has amassed a 1,517-1,425 record over his 20-year managerial career with Seattle (two seasons), Arizona (five seasons), Oakland (11 seasons) and San Diego (two seasons). Melvin, who turns 62 on Saturday, has a longstanding relationship with Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, as the two previously worked together during their time with the A’s.

Giants chairman Greg Johnson also announced Wednesday that the club has “agreed in principle” on a three-year extension for Zaidi that will match Melvin’s deal and keep the two in San Francisco through 2026. 
“We just view Bob as the perfect manager and perfect leader for this team and this organization right now,” Zaidi said. “There are so many players out there who played for Bob who to this day will say he’s the best manager they’ve ever played for, and that carried so much weight for us in this process. It’s one of the many, many reasons that we’re excited to have him as our manager.”  

Melvin had one year left on the initial three-year deal he signed with the Padres, but there was a sense he could become available amid reports of a serious rift between him and San Diego general manager A.J. Preller.

While Melvin steered the Padres to a National League Championship Series appearance last year, his star-studded roster massively underperformed in 2023, going 82-80 and finishing third in the NL West (one spot ahead of the 79-83 Giants).

Preller said he expected Melvin to return as manager during his end-of-season press conference on Oct. 4, but that scenario began to look remote after the Padres granted Melvin permission to interview with San Francisco last week.

Why did the Giants’ job make more sense for Melvin than staying in San Diego? 
“I think there was a narrative at the end that probably wasn’t going to go away, with me being on the last year of my contract,” Melvin said. “I think as far as that organization goes, it’s probably not fair if that narrative continued through next year. All things considered, this opportunity came about, and for all the reasons I stated, this feels like the right one for me. But I very much enjoyed my time in San Diego. It just seemed like with a lot of things that were popping up there, it was time to move on.” 

Zaidi, who confirmed the Giants did not have to send any compensation to the Padres to hire Melvin, said he’s confident the Padres’ 2023 season wasn’t a reflection on Melvin or his ability to be an effective leader in the clubhouse and the dugout.   
“Great managers, Hall of Fame managers, everybody’s going to preside over good seasons and bad seasons,” Zaidi said. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Melvin will hope to follow in the footsteps of Bruce Bochy, who left the Padres after the 2006 season and went on to win three World Series with the Giants. Bochy is currently in the midst of another World Series run with the Rangers, who lured him out of retirement last year. 

It’s unclear what Melvin’s arrival will mean for the rest of the Giants’ coaching staff, as a few current members, including bench coach Kai Correa, third-base coach Mark Hallberg and assistant coach Alyssa Nakken, were among the internal candidates for the position.

San Francisco also interviewed Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza and was linked to Red Sox game planning/catching coach Jason Varitek and Mariners bullpen coach/quality control coach Stephen Vogt, who is reportedly a “serious candidate” to succeed Terry Francona as the next manager of the Guardians.