When Bob Melvin toed the third base line for the 2021 team introductions Thursday night, it marked his 11th Opening Day with the A’s.
Only the legendary Connie Mack has had a longer tenure as a manager in franchise history. If Melvin manages until 2061, he’ll set the new record.
But, seriously, will Melvin be around in 2022? It appears some form of a contract extension is on the horizon as he enters the final year of his current deal.
“I have no desire to go anywhere else,” Melvin told the media via video conference before Friday’s game against the Houston Astros. “I’m perfectly happy here, and my bosses have taken good care of me here. That’s where I stand on it. It’s not my job to pick up an option, it’s the people above me. But I’m really happy here.”
The A’s have a club option for 2022, and if Melvin wants to stay, it sounds like the A’s will be happy to keep him. A’s general manager David Forst addressed the situation Wednesday during a video call with reporters.
“Bob and I talked in the offseason about this,” Forst said. “His option at this point is more a function of what he wants to do rather than what we want. He’s earned that right. That will be the conversation that we have going forward.”
From an outsider’s perspective, Melvin seems to have the respect of his players, who rave about his communication skills, enjoy his old-school qualities and talk about his low-key swagger. He totes a .527 win percentage (767-689) since taking over for fired Bob Geren in June 2010, and currently is MLB's longest-tenured manager.
If there’s a knock on the A’s during Melvin’s tenure, it’s their lack of playoff success. The A’s are 7-13 in playoff games under Melvin’s watch, with last year’s three-game American League Wild Card Series victory over the Chicago White Sox the lone postseason series win in seven tries.
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Melvin knows how to work with Oakland’s unique front-office approach, which often leads to lots of roster turnover or unorthodox personnel moves, while serving as a nice buffer for the players. For an organization that values continuity, extending Melvin seems like a no-brainer.
From the top down, you look at key front-office personnel like executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, Forst, assistant GM Billy Owens, director of scouting Eric Kubota and special advisor for player development Keith Lieppman all have been part of the organization for decades.
If you want to go even further, look at longtime clubhouse manager Steve Vucinich, his staff and team photographer Michael Zagaris. The A’s like to keep the band together.
At this point, Melvin might have settled himself into a nice carte blanche situation with the A’s. They have made the playoffs each of the last three seasons, with a solid .599 winning percentage in that span. The Bay Area native has frequently shared his love for the region, and I’d guess the A’s will offer him a multiyear contract extension like they did in 2015 and 2018.
Don’t be surprised if Melvin -- or BoMel, as he’s known around the clubhouse -- has his No. 6 jersey retired in Oakland one day.