ARLINGTON, Texas — As the A’s continue their youth movement on the field, they feel their current man in the dugout is the right guy to lead that charge. Manager Bob Melvin was given a one-year extension Thursday that takes his contract through the 2019 season. That means he’ll get the chance to continue guiding a young core that’s generated some optimism with a strong September.
“We couldn’t have a better man for the position than Bob,” said Billy Beane, the A’s executive V.P. of baseball operations. “He comes to the park everyday with the same mindset, no matter who he’s got on the roster. He finds a way to be prepared.”
It’s been a rough go for the A’s since a three-year run of postseason appearances from 2012-14. They’ll need to sweep the Rangers in Arlington in a season-ending four-game series that began Thursday night to avoid a third consecutive last-place finish.
Along the way, their roster constantly has been in flux. The trade of four All-Stars before the 2015 season, including third baseman Josh Donaldson, was a drastic makeover. Each season since then has brought the trade of numerous veterans at the July deadline as the team has faded from contention.
However, a group of highly regarded position-player prospects has arrived at different points over the past season-and-a-half, including designated hitter Ryon Healy, third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Matt Olson and utility man Chad Pinder. That group has won together in the minors and is showing signs of being a core that the A’s can build around moving forward.
Since being hired in June 2011 to replace Bob Geren, Melvin has been awarded a three-year extension and a pair of two-year extensions prior to this. His current deal was set to expire after next season, and extending him removes that as a potential storyline as the year unfolds.
“I appreciate it from (principal owner) John (Fisher) all the way to Billy and (GM) David (Forst),” Melvin said. “Everybody for the fact that they have the faith in me to keep me around for another year.”
Beane, Forst and Melvin are all on contracts that run through 2019. The logical expectation is that the A’s can finally start making an upward climb in the American League West standings.
“We’ve had a little down period here after a three-year upswing,” Melvin said. “We’re moving in the right direction, definitely. I don’t want to put a number on what we expect next year. Certainly there will be some moves this offseason to try to enhance the roster as well. But I’m really excited about the potential we have here.”
Beane said he’s been encouraged by the play of the youngsters the A’s have promoted, and they “look forward to further integrating young players over the next year. We’ve got a number of kids knocking on the door.”
Melvin is one of just seven managers in history to win Manager of the Year awards in both leagues. He did so in 2007 with Arizona and the A’s in 2012.