Bob Melvin's time with the San Diego Padres is over as multiple reports have him taking over as the new manager of the San Francisco Giants, with an introductory press conference scheduled for Wednesday. With that in mind, it's time to examine the impact (or lack thereof) Melvin made during his two seasons with the Padres.
What is Bob Melvin's legacy with the San Diego Padres?
As Melvin moves on to San Francisco, he leaves behind a record of 171-153 in his two seasons in San Diego. Those two seasons were on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, with Melvin leading the Padres to the NLCS in his first season after posting an 89-73 regular-season mark. Expectations were sky high heading into the 2023 season, but Melvin and the Padres fell way short, finishing at 82-80 and missing the playoffs.
It's perhaps safe to say that the memories and grades of Melvin's time in San Diego will focus much more on the failures than the successes. Rumors of dysfunction in the organization in mid-September were the icing on what was a frustrating season for a team with all of the talent to (at least on paper) go deep into October. At the end of the day, Melvin simply couldn't bring together a clubhouse filled with plenty of talent but egos as well.
One of the key sentences of The Athletic article linked above reads, "Several Padres people interviewed for this story described circumstances in which Preller told players one thing and Melvin told them another." If that is the case, Melvin may have been seen as someone without full power, weakening his authority and undermining the possibilities of bringing the clubhouse together or implementing rules and policies that could have potentially altered the season.
A manager's job is to find a way to put the best lineup on the field day after day and give his team the best chance to win. While he can't swing a bat or throw a pitch, he can make the decisions to put his team in the optimal position to succeed. For much of the season, it felt that Melvin fell short of that goal. While some of the blame can certainly fall with the front office for not getting the right reinforcements at the MLB trade deadline and other roster-related decisions, as each day went by, it became more clear that Melvin wasn't comfortable with his roster and couldn't push the right buttons to make it work.
If Melvin deserves credit for 2022's incredible run, he also has earned the blame for the debacle of 2023. There is no way to sugarcoat it.
Melvin's legacy in San Diego will be a mixed bag, but recency bias and the human nature to gravitate toward the negative will likely paint how Friars fans remember him moving forward.