Hickey on Melvin
John Hickey writes the best possible defense of Bob Melvin that you could write, hitting a lot of truths on his way. While I don’t agree that Melvin should be retained, there aren’t many things in the article to quibble with. Hickey basically makes three points:
1. The collapse of the team this year is not his fault.
This is pretty obviously true. There’s no way you can pin the collapses of the veterans on the manager. There isn’t a coach alive who would have won with this team.
2. Melvin is the scapegoat for the front office, the real culprits of this team’s decline.
Also true. Over the past two years, Gillick and Bavasi combined to build the team we have, and the majority of the blame for this season’s results fall on their shoulders.
3. Melvin’s personality can work, ala Joe Torre in New York, when given good players.
Again, a legitimate point, and a solid response to those who want to fire Melvin for his personality.
Hickey’s basic point that firing Melvin because this team failed is unfair is accurate. I don’t believe Bob Melvin should be fired because this team is awful. I believe Bob Melvin should be replaced because he’s not one of the 30 best baseball managers under contract to a team. He has shown a significant amount of weakness in in-game strategy as well as role development. If you’re going to cost your team wins during the game, you have to offset them through some kind of ultra-motivation that causes your team to overachieve. Melvin hasn’t shown that ability, and his lack of tactical skills is a sufficient reason to replace him.
The M’s took a flyer on Bob Melvin. It didn’t work out, and in the same way that the organization wouldn’t have problems replacing a prospect who got the call and didn’t perform, the M’s shouldn’t have any qualms about moving on here either. Bob Melvin doesn’t deserve to lose his job for what has happened; he deserves to lose his job because there are more qualified individuals ready to take his position.