The SF Giants have been granted permission to interview San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin. The Giants like his experience, but he appeals to them in more ways than one, including his potential role in recruiting free agents.
What the SF Giants like about Bob Melvin and his potential role in free agency
In his end-of-the-year press conference, team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi described what trait, in particular, he wants to see in the next manager:
"One of the things we talked about last week, which I think will factor into the choice is we want somebody who can be an effective recruiter.... We want to sort of build the brand of players wanted to come here and player here and I think the manager is a big part of that... That's definitely going to factor into it. "- Farhan Zaidi
Perhaps, I am reading a bit too between the lines, but the fact that this was one of the first traits he identified could be seen as an admission that former manager Gabe Kapler was not good in that regard. I do not know if that is the case, but I am reading the tea leaves.
This is where someone like Melvin could become a factor. The longtime manager has made stops with the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A's, and Padres organizations. His career spans 20 years, so he has built up relationships with both players and front office personnel.
Of course, one of the more important relationships that Melvin has built in his career is the connection he has with Zaidi. Melvin managed the A's for 11 seasons beginning in 2011. During that time, Zaidi served Oakland in a variety of roles such as assistant general manager..
It bears repeating that the Giants have swung-and-missed in their free-agent pursuits over the past several seasons. They have not signed a star free agent in decades. They really need that to change soon.
Could that change with someone like Melvin as the manager? The manager does play a role in the recruiting process as he explains how a prospective free agent might fit onto a team. Plus, a sense of familiarity and a pre-existing connection to a manager and front office can help sway a player in making a decision.
Now, it would be nice if Melvin had managed someone like Shohei Ohtani in his career, but no one is perfect. Though, if you are looking at free agents with ties to Melvin, this includes a list of names, including Matt Chapman, Sonny Gray, Frankie Montas, and Blake Snell. Not necessarily stars outside of Snell, but players with solid track records.
Snell will land a lucrative contract this winter and is likely not on the Giants' list, but connections matter at the end of the day. Zaidi indicated that he wanted a manager who could help recruit free agents, and few managers have as many connections as someone like Melvin. Outside of his experience, this is one of the traits that the longtime skipper has over the rest of the candidate pool.