As soon as former SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler was dismissed, rumors started circulating about who would be his replacement. San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin was speculated to be a fit but San Diego plans to keep him for next season. Is recent history playing a role in this decision?
Did history keep SF Giants from luring away Padres manager?
You do not have to look too deep into Giants history to know what I am talking about. After Felipe Alou retired following the 2006 season, the Padres allowed the Giants to interview Bruce Bochy for the opening.
We know how this story goes. Bochy took the job. Four years later, he won his first World Series with the Giants. Two years after that, he won another. Two more years after that, he won one more. Eight years after the Padres allowed him to talk with the Giants, Bochy had etched his name in history with three titles.
Of course, the longtime manager is not the manager to have managed both teams. Roger Craig did so as well, managing the Padres for two seasons in the late 1970's and had an eight-year stint as the Giants' skipper beginning in 1985. This included a run to the 1989 World Series.
So, is history playing a role this time around? Jon Heyman of the New York Post quoted a rival executive who suggested that the Padres wanted to avoid another Bochy situation.
"One rival exec suggested it looked like they kept him because they didn’t want a “Bruce Bochy 2” situation after the Giants let go Gabe Kapler early, which may have been taken as a signal they wanted Melvin. He’s close to Counsell but probably fits San Francisco better since he has ties to Giants honcho Farhan Zaidi and prefers to spring in Arizona"- Jon Heyman
There might be some hyperbole mixed in from the rival executive as the chances of recreating another Bochy situation are slim. However, the Padres certainly did not want to be in a situation in helping out a division rival.
Plus, they did not want to see Melvin have more success with a Giants team that is bare on star talent compared to the Padres. So, Melvin and and president of baseball operations A.J. Preller are poised to stick together for another season despite rumors of a rocky relationship.
It is a moot point now since the Padres have already signaled that they plan to keep Melvin. However, the longtime manager would have been a fit for the Giants gig for several reasons. He grew up in Palo Alto, which is about an hour away from San Francisco and he played in parts of three seasons with the Giants in the early 1980's. Plus, he has a ton of experience.
There is also a pre-existing front office connection given that Melvin managed the Oakland A's while Giants top executive Farhan Zaidi was an assistant general manager in Oakland. It is funny to think that history played a role, but Preller likely did not want to be in a position of having to find another manager.