Padres make Bob Melvin next skipper

November 1st, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres wanted a manager with experience, clout and a history of success.

They got him. Bob Melvin signed a three-year deal to become San Diego's next manager, and he was introduced at a news conference at Petco Park on Monday.

“Bob is one of the top managers in the game and brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and a proven track record to win at the Major League level,” general manager A.J. Preller said. “Throughout the process, Bob showed our group a true love of baseball and a natural presence to lead. It was immediately evident how he’s been able to bring out the best in his players throughout his managerial career. We believe that Bob is the right man to take our talented group and help them deliver a championship to the city of San Diego.”

The A's had picked up Melvin's contract option for the 2022 season, but they agreed to let him interview with the Padres, who will not send Oakland any compensation in return.

Melvin, a three-time Manager of the Year Award winner, spent 11 seasons with Oakland after stints with the D-backs and Mariners. He owns a .514 career winning percentage and has helmed Oakland to four consecutive winning seasons.

Melvin takes over a Padres team that finished 79-83 despite entering the year with World Series aspirations. Manager Jayce Tingler was dismissed shortly after the season, and San Diego embarked on a search process that lasted 3 1/2 weeks and saw it interview around a half-dozen candidates, sources said.

Ultimately, the team settled on Melvin -- who celebrated his 60th birthday on Thursday -- as the right man to help it realize those World Series ambitions.

San Diego will return most of its roster for the 2022 season, with few major decisions looming. As such, Melvin inherits a team with a young core to build around -- notably Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham.

Still, the Padres have reached the postseason only once in the past 15 years, and that came during a shortened 2020 campaign. They were considered World Series contenders entering this past season, and they looked the part for four months. But they were stricken by injuries and left without any rotation reinforcements at the Trade Deadline. San Diego posted an 18-36 record after July, which led to Tingler’s dismissal and the decision to let the rest of the coaching staff pursue other opportunities.

Now, Melvin must fill out the rest of that staff, and it’s possible he'll look to retain some from the previous group. The Padres have already hired Ruben Niebla, a highly respected pitching guru from the Cleveland organization, to be their pitching coach. Sources said general manager A.J. Preller simply did not want to miss out on such an impactful pitching hire while waiting to find a manager.

The Padres are also expected to retain Ben Fritz as bullpen coach, sources said. Fritz had served as interim pitching coach after Larry Rothschild’s dismissal in August. Melvin will have a say on the remainder of San Diego’s coaching hires this offseason.

Melvin has reached the postseason seven times, including six with Oakland. He took home Manager of the Year Awards in 2007 (with the D-backs), ’12 and ’18 (with the A's). That wealth of experience was attractive to San Diego. Preller had previously hired two managers, in Tingler and Andy Green, without big league managerial experience.

But beyond the experience, the Padres feel Melvin’s managerial style is a perfect fit. He’s a steady presence who can bring a calming hand through the ups and downs of a season. His former players rave about the connections and relationships they’ve built with him.

For the A’s, Melvin’s departure portends a bit of a tricky offseason. Melvin was the longest-tenured manager in the Majors and a staple in Oakland.

The Padres, meanwhile, got their man. They feel Melvin will strike the right tone for a star-laden clubhouse that didn’t quite realize its potential in 2021.

With a coaching staff overhaul and some reconstruction around the edges of their roster, the Padres should enter the 2022 season as playoff contenders once again. And they’ll do so with a proven playoff-caliber manager at the helm.