Bob Melvin explains why time was right to leave Oakland A's

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It will probably take a while to get used to Bob Melvin in the brown and mustard threads of the San Diego Padres.

The former A’s manager held a press conference Monday in San Diego alongside Padres general manager A.J. Preller after signing a three-year contract to be their new skipper. Melvin gushed about the opportunity to manage a stacked roster with stars like Fernando Tatis Jr., but he also explained why it felt like the right time to leave Oakland.

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“Sometimes it just becomes time,” Melvin said. “I was lucky enough to manage the team for 10-plus seasons. I was the longest-tenured guy [in MLB]. I grew up in the Bay Area. It was a hometown team of mine. I was absolutely as fortunate as you could be to manage that team. But there comes a time where you know it doesn’t go forever. I think [A’s executive vice president of baseball operations] Billy [Beane] and [A’s general manager] David [Forst] were nice enough to realize that, too, and understanding the opportunity that I had here.”

Melvin said he received a call after the season from Beane, who said Preller wanted to discuss a job opportunity. The manager lives in Arizona in the offseason, so he met Preller at the team’s spring training complex in Peoria to learn more about the position.

“It was a bit of a surprise,” Melvin said. “As I was driving there it was almost surreal, the fact that I was going to be talking to another team. I did a little research on the team and I knew the team from being here [in San Diego] before. But I’m driving, going, ‘What is this really going to be about?’”

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Melvin had another conversation in Peoria before flying out to San Diego and spending a couple more days with the organization. He eventually met with majority owner Peter Seidler and the decision crystallized over some dinners in San Diego.

“I had a great feeling that I wanted to do this,” Melvin said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, but I knew that I was here [in San Diego] there was probably a chance.”

Melvin is the winningest manager in Oakland A’s history. Melvin led the A’s to six playoff appearances and won two American League Manager of the Year awards in 2012 and 2018 with Oakland. With Melvin’s salary at $4 million a year, the A’s may have let him walk as a cost-cutting move.

The writing appears to be on the wall for this group of A’s. With Melvin’s exit, signs point to the Oakland ownership cutting payroll and perhaps breaking up its nucleus of Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt, who are all set to make big pay raises in arbitration.

From the way Melvin sounded during this interview with Bally Sports San Diego, another rebuilding cycle for the A’s may be imminent.

“I was lucky enough for Billy to continually extend my contract where it was never really a conversation,” Melvin said. “So, when I had an option picked up last year, it didn’t surprise me, with my history with Billy and the organization. But it was the last year of that and who knows where they’re going.

“They tend to churn sometimes. We had different players there from time to time, based on the fact that it is a little bit of a smaller budget. That’s not the case here. There are different trajectories for the organization.”

Strap in, A’s fans. It could be a long winter.