By Evan Brunell
Now that the Athletics have fired manager Bob Geren in the midst of a nine-game losing streak, let's take a look at his replacement.
Bob Melvin is a pretty vanilla choice -- he doesn't have a major personality and has always worked closely with the front office. This is exactly how GM Billy Beane likes it, with a manager who works in lockstep with the front office. In the famed Moneyball book, it was made clear that Beane felt a manager should be an extension of the front office and do what it requests. Melvin can certainly do that.
|Bob Geren controversy|
In Arizona, Melvin was sometimes referred to as the "mad scientist" for his jiggering of lineups, mixing and matching players to get the best out of each player. Given Oakland is struggling offensively, it could use a fresh look at lineup composition as a way to spark the offense. With Melvin's reliance on numbers and goal of hiding player's weaknesses, he is a logical fit.
Melvin was hired to manage the Mariners in 2003 as Lou Piniella's replacement, winning 93 games in his interim season but did not have his contract renewed after 2004 when the club tumbled to 99 losses. He was later hired as Diamondbacks manager in 2005 after Arizona severed ties with Wally Backman, who originally was supposed to be the new skipper. Melvin stayed there for almost a full five years, winning the NL Manager of the Year award in 2007 with a 90-72 record and division title before sinking to 82-80 and being fired with a 12-17 record in 2009. Overall, Melvin's career managerial record is 493-508.
Melvin was then a finalist for both the Brewers and Mets' managerial jobs this offseason, but lost to Ron Roenicke and Terry Collins, respectively. Beane said on a conference call to reporters that Melvin's availability for the job played a part in Geren's firing at this point. (Hat tip: San Francisco Chronicle.)
Melvin has copious coaching experience outside of managing. He was the bench coach for Arizona from 2001-02, earning a World Series ring in his first year. He was also Phil Garner's bench coach in Milwaukee for 1999 and Detroit in 2000. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Brewers, both as a coach in the majors and minors as well as in a front-office capacity.
No one knows how Melvin will do as a manager, but it's clear that Beane followed a blueprint here: Find someone who is numbers-friendly, will work with the front office and take orders, and a new requirement: be a strong communicator.
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