By Keith Antigiovanni
The San Diego Padres made their first major move of the offseason by allowing former manager Bob Melvin to leave this week and hired by the National League (NL) West rival San Francisco Giants. After 2 seasons Melvin led the Padres to a winning record (171-153), 2 winning seasons, 1 playoff appearance and an NL Championship Series appearance (NLCS) but the expectations were far greater this season and a winning season or playoff appearance were not enough prompting a change at managerial position.
The obvious two-part question for ownership and the fans ask themselves was Bob Melvin the reason for the club underachieving this year? And will a new manager be an upgrade? Melvin’s track record as a manager shows a record of success particularly his time with the Oakland Athletics, a club that had a limited payroll. In his 11 seasons with the Athletics’ he led them to 7 winning seasons, 3 AL West titles and 6 playoff appearances as the A’s annually had one of the lowest payrolls.
There are a variety of reasons for the Padres not meeting expectations this year including inconsistent offense, a poor home record and the lack of results from many of its key high salary players but was Manager one of them? We won’t know the answer until his replacement is chosen and has at least a season under his belt. As for who the replacement is, stay tuned.
The Padres are going to be hiring an eighth Manager in 11 seasons including interim Managers since A.J. Preller was hired as General Manager before 2014. In Preller’s time as GM the Padres have achieved only 4 winning seasons overall so maybe it’s a case of finding the right guy at Manager or maybe the problem is somewhere else.
With Melvin’s departure there is historical precedent that did not work out for the Padres when 16 years ago former skipper Bruce Bochy and Padres ownership reached an impasse and ownership allowed Bochy to leave for NL West rival San Francisco Giants after 12 seasons as Padres’ manager led the Giants to 3 World Series titles (2010, 2012, 2014).
Bochy managed there until 2020, spent the past three years in retirement until this year when the Texas Rangers hired him this season. The results have been great so far for the Rangers as Bochy has Texas in the World Series for the first time in 12 years after the franchise struggled the past six years. Bochy’s fifth World Series appearance as Manager with three clubs (Padres-1998), (Giants-2010, 2012, 2014), (Rangers-2023).