“Padres–Surprise-Out of Clear Blue Sky”
I guess we should not have expected anything normal, consider how unorthodox GM-AJ Preller is when it comes time to making baseball decisions.
Trades at 2:30am…mega contract deals…big trades…huge contracts for kids…and the trades-always the trades.
So selecting longtime established manager Bob Melvin should not be a shock, considering Preller never does the expected.
He hires a manager with a solid track record of stability.
More wins than losses.
A bunch of 1st place finishes.
3-AL West division titles.
Even wins in the playoffs.
And 3-times Manager of the Year.
He subscribes to analytics, based on his long run with Billy Beane in Oakland. He is even-keel in dealing with players. He commands respect based on his long tenure.
He has had good relationships with his GM, even thru tough times, with no budgets, bad rosters, and fading-aging superstars he was handed to manage.
He is proven, even if he does not have the cachet of Bruce Bochy, Buck Showalter, or Ron Washington.
Preller did not take even a month to conduct the interviews to see what guys could offer. This was a pretty quick decision, though I am sure he did huge groundwork to find out more about the man.
Melvin worked for another off-beat guy in Beane in Oakland, and worked for Josh Byrnes in Arizona and Bill Bavasi in Seattle, guys with some decent baseball background.
He walks into a great situation. All those established stars in the lineup. Some personality flair on the roster. And a battered pitching staff expected to be healthy come Cactus League time in Arizona. This is not the volatile New York Mets, tear-down Chicago, impossible Pittsburgh-Kansas City-Baltimore.
Preller did not hire a no-name this time.
He did not get the big name he could have gotten.
He got the guy he liked, who was pliant and would do what needed to be done in the Padres structure of things to be done.
Not surprised it ended this way, because Preller marches to his own drumbeat. He is fortunate his owner has given him more space to fix what Preller screwed up. I don”t know many GMs who wind up keeping their jobs with 6-losing seasons in 6-full years of baseball. Last year was an aberration with the devastating pitching injuries. The depletion of the entire farm system could hurt this team going forward.
So we see if this works.
If not, then the next hiring will be that of a General Manager to replace Preller.