Melvin fired

DMZ · October 4, 2004 at 9:46 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Tim Hevly, team spokesman, confirms. It’s up on ESPN. So far we’ve heard nothing as to the reasons behind the firing, but at this point it doesn’t matter much whether he was fired for the right or the wrong reasons. All we could do with that information is do the tea leaf-reading routine, because it’s likely that the candidate will be sold to us as meeting those requirements.

Edit: Added by Dave: As I alluded to last night, the entire staff, minus Bryan Price, also did not have their contracts renewed. Despite Price not being fired, his job as pitching coach is not guaranteed for ’05. If the new manager would like to bring in his own pitching coach, Price could be reassigned.

Edited by Derek to add: ahhh, boy, nothing like a good housecleaning. Everyone but Price gone. Myers may be back in some capacity — especially if they hire Rohn/Brundage. Aldrete I don’t know about.

Also, reasons emerge. They’re sort of vague non-reasons, but the interesting thing is how this search will contrast from how Bavasi was hired: that the’re going to decide on someone, go after that person, and if that fails, go to the next person on the list. At the same time, the list of ‘consideration’ will be pretty large, since they’re going to great pains to say that they’re not going to rule anyone out.

This from the Times made me laugh.

As for when he made the decision on Melvin, Bavasi said it wasn’ t until five or six days ago that he made up his mind. And now what will he need to replace him?

Hee hee. Is he implying that a decision wasn’t made by Bavasi, but instead higher-ups? I mean, we knew he was most probably getting fired way back, and I knew it was certain after that letter to season ticket holders. But like saying there was nothing negative to say about Melvin, this is a polite white lie to make this a less painful occasion. We can mock the M’s for their feel-good ways, but there’s something to be said about trying to conduct your public affairs with class (counter-example: Mets firing Art Howe).

Another funny thing: Bavasi said that the team’s going to be looking for players this off-season that are “self-starters” which cracks me up in a couple ways:
– the player that gets to this level of competition without busting their butt is pretty freaking small, whether they appear unemotional (like Olerud, Grieve, others) or not
– isn’t it in some way a manager’s failure if their players are unmotivated? I’m only saying.
– last year it was “veteran grit” and this year it’s going to be “self-starting”. You know what might be good? And this is just a suggestion — good players. Something to think about.


48 Responses to “Melvin fired”

  1. Dylan on October 4th, 2004 9:54 am

    I would love to see Rohn promoted or Tom Kelly hired. Promoting Rohn may open a can of worms in terms of Free Agents wanting to play for a Manager with a “name”.

  2. Xteve X on October 4th, 2004 9:57 am

    The question is, why did they even bother extending him in the first place back in May? If he was so great in the clubhouse and at managing the vets, why would he need the security of another year, to avoid the perception of being “dead man walking?” Just another weird chapter in a weird season.

    Goodbye, good riddance.

  3. David J Corcoran on October 4th, 2004 10:14 am



  4. Gil Meche's right shoulder on October 4th, 2004 10:19 am

    This is the best news that I have had all season.


  5. jwb on October 4th, 2004 10:21 am

    Don’t forget, we already have the 2005 boat anchor on the payroll: Everybody’s favorite Houston Astro, the man Phil Garner proved to be an exquisite manager, short on M’s as well as W’s: Jimy Williams.

  6. Coach on October 4th, 2004 10:23 am

    Regarding Rohn, I think he is an interesting candidate, but we don’t yet know who the competition will be. However, if the Mariners felt he was viable, they missed a golden opportunity to name him interim Manager at the end of the year. Since it now looks as though they fully intended to pin 2004 on Melvin, what did they have to lose? If there were no perceived difference in the club under Rohn’s guidance, he goes back to Tacoma. On the other hand, had there been a resurgence, it may have softened the perception of him as an unknown entity by any potental FA.

    Here’s hoping they follow up the change on the field with some new thinking upstairs (Grady Fuson has been mentioned here) before any roster moves are made. Left to their own devices, I expect this bunch to spend more money, but not make better choices.

  7. Jeff in Fremont on October 4th, 2004 10:30 am

    Does anyone else want to jump on the Art Howe bandwagon, or am I riding solo here?

  8. Thomas Prowell on October 4th, 2004 10:32 am

    Quick, somebody find out what Davey Johnson is up to these days!

  9. Collin on October 4th, 2004 10:34 am

    Soory, Jeff. You’re not on a bandwagon. Your on a little red wagon about to fall apart. Art Howe is nothing without Billy Beane. He’s as much a non-presence as Melvin is.

  10. Troy on October 4th, 2004 10:34 am

    Howe doesn’t excite me, but I could tolerate him. I do not want to see Tom Kelly. Larry Bowa? Gag me. Rohn’s probably my favorite candidate right now, but that’s not saying much. Bringing Chavez up as pitching coach sounds promising too.

  11. Collin on October 4th, 2004 10:35 am

    Soory should really be Sorry inpost #9. Typos just make me insane.

  12. Xteve X on October 4th, 2004 10:37 am

    Howe doesn’t excite me at all, but will likely be considered as an early front runner for the job.

  13. jwb on October 4th, 2004 10:40 am

    How about Yamauchi accompanying Bobby Valentine over here from Japan?

  14. dw on October 4th, 2004 10:41 am

    Still talk of going after Jimy Williams. WHY WHY WHY?

    Bobby V is apparently at the end of his contract with the Lotte Marines, though the Mets are after him.

    Grady Little deserves a second chance IMO. If not Dan Rohn, I’d go with him. Rohn would appear to be top of the list right now.

  15. Alex on October 4th, 2004 10:43 am

    Has anyone seen a realistic list of viable replacements for Melvin? Just curious…

    I know that I read an article a few days ago about possible Mets managerial replacements for Art Howe and it mentions a bunch of names that I wasn’t that thrilled with (Jim Fregosi, for example).

    Another question that I throw out there: Would anyone think that Bobby Valentine would be a good choice here? The article I read said that he has an “out” in his Japanese contract that would allow him to bail if he got a manager job in MLB. I personally like the passion that he can bring to the table, but I think he can sometimes be overbearing (in the mold of Larry Bowa).

  16. Alex on October 4th, 2004 10:45 am

    Jimy Williams? Bah. I’d take Rohn well before Jimy Williams.

  17. sidereal on October 4th, 2004 10:50 am

    Aaaarrrgggh. . please stop agitating for big-name, big-money guys. Have you stopped to think about how much marginal value an MLB manager adds to a club? It has to be near zero. The current consensus is that chemistry comes from winning, not the other way around, so whatever they add to ‘clubhouse attitude’ is meaningless. The in-game impact a manager has is slim, and replacement level is easily found. It’s just silly.

    Bring some kid in from college.

    The only value I see in an MLB manager is their ability to attract free agents, and I’m pretty sure the dollars dominate that conversation anyway.

    The biggest travesty in sports is that MLB manager salaries are within an order of magnitude of NFL coach salaries.

  18. JPWood on October 4th, 2004 10:50 am

    Hire Joe Torre.
    That would be the best punch line possible.
    I hope Gillick never works again.

  19. Alex on October 4th, 2004 10:53 am

    Regarding post #17 – So are you of the opinion that Melvin was just an unfortunate victim of a bad season and that he had little (if any) responsiblity for the ’04 season? Would you have been satisfied with the M’s simply keeping Melvin for ’05?

  20. sidereal on October 4th, 2004 10:59 am

    Or, to be more concrete, would you rather have Dave Brundage & Troy Glaus or Joe Torre & Shane Halter?

    That’s good money that could go to actually improving the team’s chances of winning.

  21. Alex on October 4th, 2004 11:03 am

    While a “name” manager does obviously cost more money… we’re talking the difference between a couple hundred thousand dollars and several million per year. I don’t think it’d make a difference in the M’s ability to get major FA’s (assuming that’s the M’s goal, of course). Where I do think it might make a difference is whethere they could sign a smaller piece, like a decent middle reliever. It might make the difference between signing a JC Romero-type player and having to go with an NRI or a minor leaguer…

  22. Troy on October 4th, 2004 11:04 am

    I think you’re overemphasizing the point sidereal. A big-league skipper may only add a few wins, but so will Troy Glaus. A manager has value beyond in-game decision making, particularly when you have a GM like Bavasi who seems to value his manager’s opinion about personnel. I’d rather go with Brundage or Rohn since the other candidates don’t excite me, but if there was somebody out there I wouldn’t mind making a play for them.

    Besides, I think the M’s account managerial salaries apart from the self-imposed player cap, so it’s not like money they don’t spend on a skipper is going to players anyway. Somebody tell me if I’m wrong here.

  23. sidereal on October 4th, 2004 11:04 am

    #19 – Yes, Melvin had little responsibility for the terrors of 2004. That said: every bit matters, and his uniformly bad tactics might have cost a win or two. In 2004, meaningless. But in a competitive season, important. So I’m fine with replacing him, as long as we don’t let him turn into a sacrificial lamb, and assume everything’s just going to be swell if we replace him.

    Of course, I’m guessing we’re responsible for his contract next season, since Bavasi took the option, so he’s basically a free manager. That means the one or two wins we’re going to get by replacing him with a competent in-game manager have to come on the cheap.

    Imagine paying for Melvin + Bowa to add two wins to the club.

    Again, I say aaaargh.

  24. Alex on October 4th, 2004 11:05 am

    I, for one, would not be in favor of seeing Larry Bowa here as the manager. I stated the majority of my reasoning in the more recent thread, but basically I think he’s an okay choice as a third base coach but not the main man.

  25. Troy on October 4th, 2004 11:06 am

    I don’t think Bowa would add any wins, unless you mean wins above Melvin (WAM?), which is probably a step down from wins above replacemt manager.

  26. Paul Molitor Cocktail on October 4th, 2004 11:06 am

    The question is, why did they even bother extending him in the first place back in May? If he was so great in the clubhouse and at managing the vets, why would he need the security of another year, to avoid the perception of being “dead man walking?”

    What I’ve heard is that the Ms wanted to reassure fans during the early stumble, and by renewing Melvin’s contract they thought they would project an aura of confidence in the team, that they’d come back and do well.

  27. sidereal on October 4th, 2004 11:06 am

    “wins above replacemt manager”

    Mmm. . WARM.

  28. Jerry on October 4th, 2004 11:08 am

    Here are some guys I think are viable candidates:

    Rohn: internal guy has proven managerial success at AAA. Know about 1/2 of the current roster. Little name recognition will not be a draw for free agents

    Joe Maddon: ties to Bavasi. Has been part of a very well coached Anaheim team. New school statistically oriented manager. Supposed to be a good teacher and communicator. Seems like a laid-back players coach type. Lack of name recognition will not help M’s on free agent signings

    Tom Kelly: perfect pick. Proven manager with a great deal of success at ML level. Big name. Will bring an immediate dose of respectability to the team. If the M’s can make him interested in the job, he is the prefect candidate. However, he doesn’t seem to be too interested in coming.

    Grady Little: this guy deserves another shot. He had a great deal of success in Boston, but got fired for one bad call. I believe that people can learn from their mistakes, and this guy would be a good choice.

    Bobby Valentine: too erratic. You can’t really like this guy. I have to think that most players would not really want to play for him. When he insinuated that Piazza was gay, that really made me think that Valentine is a genuinely stupid man. But, he is a lot of things that Melvin was not.

    Larry Bowa: no no no. He is more likely to have a stroke in dugout than to win coach of the year.

    Jimmy Williams: is it just me, or is he the most consistently mediocre manager in baseball. If he was a player, he would be a replacement level guy. The Seattle skipper position is a good one: nice city, nice staduim, good fans, large market. The M’s can do better.

    Other guys like Brenly, Baylor, and Kennedy don’t really do it for me.

    All in all, I think that Kelly should be the #1 priority. Since he is a long shot, I think that Rohn, Maddon, and Little are all good Plan B candidates. I don’t like the others.

  29. Tod on October 4th, 2004 11:23 am

    At least the front office isn’t trying to put it all on Melvin:

    “The decision not to bring back Bob as Mariners’ manager was a difficult one,” Bavasi said. “The players played hard through the final day of the season. Bob and his coaches worked hard to win while trying to develop young players during this season of transition.

    “But this decision is not meant to place blame completely on Bob. There is plenty of blame to go around for all of us.”

  30. Metz on October 4th, 2004 11:32 am

    Davey Johnson….If we can’t get Bobby Cox then I want Davey.

  31. LB on October 4th, 2004 11:45 am

    #28: All through 2003, Grady Little made bad call after bad call, and most of the baseball world has forgotten all but the last one. Since this is not a Red Sox blog, I won’t go into the gory details.

  32. G-Man on October 4th, 2004 12:03 pm

    Would Joe Maddon help attract Troy Glaus to Seattle?

    If Yamauchi knows of and thinks Bobby Valentine is a good manager, watch out.

    In the press conference, Bavasi said that it would be more of a targetted selection process; i.e., he wouldn’t compose a list of candidates and interview all of them, he’d go after one guy at a time.

  33. Troy on October 4th, 2004 12:09 pm

    I don’t understand why the baseball world is so quick to forgive Grady. I have NO desire to see him as our next manager. None.

  34. John on October 4th, 2004 12:12 pm

    No matter what sidereal thinks, Lou Pinella made a difference. Old favorites in the coaching ranks like John Moses, Matt Sinatro, Bobby Cuellar, no, they didn’t make a difference, but there are rare exceptions.

  35. earlweaver22 on October 4th, 2004 12:19 pm

    Bill Plummer!

  36. Joshua Buergel on October 4th, 2004 12:22 pm

    Does anyone know if Jim Tracy is going to be re-signed by the Dodgers? If memory serves, this is the last year of his contract, and I haven’t heard one way or the other about what’s going to happen with him. If he’s available, I’d love to see him here in Seattle. He’s done a nice job with roster management with LA, getting more out of his spare parts than I think he gets credit for, and he might be a lure for Beltre. Of course, we’d have to wait until the Dodgers were eliminated, but since they seem like the weakest team in the NL playoffs this year, that might not take forever.

  37. isaac on October 4th, 2004 12:27 pm

    heres a thought…

  38. Fledermaus on October 4th, 2004 1:22 pm

    In addition to Melvin – today has been a total bloodbath in the dugout from the PI:

    At the same time, the Mariners fired five of the six coaches who served this past season. The only coach retained was pitching coach Bryan Price, who had a two-year contract through 2005.

    Thankfully this firing also includes 3b coach Dave Meyers.

  39. eponymous coward on October 4th, 2004 1:46 pm

    Thank God. I was not looking forward to seeing Myers ruin someone else’s knee or make another dumbass go/no-go decision coaching 3B. I’d hire him again just so I could fire him again based on Snelling alone.

  40. Cap on October 4th, 2004 2:03 pm

    A friend of mine in Chicago indicated to me that Dusty Baker may get the proverbial ax from the Cubs management post-world series.

    As a life-long Twins fan from the midwest, I would kill to have Tom Kelly in a M’s uniform for 2005. I doubt it’ll happen, though, since he’s about 900 years old and wants to not be a manager for a while (his words).

    What kind of manager can we pick off from the Braves team? I’d be interested to see who they have ready to step up into a managerial role.

    I’m also interested in the San Antonio coach, from what I’m reading here. I know nothing about him, though, except what was posted. He sounds like my kind of guy 🙂

  41. Adam S on October 4th, 2004 2:20 pm

    We’re getting off topic, but I’d be stunned if the Cubs fired Dusty Baker. The Cubs spent the whole season battling injuries (Prior, Wood, Borowski, Sosa, and Ramirez) and still won more games than they did in 2003. Until they fell apart the final week of the season, they appeared headed back to the playoffs. That said, much as there are those in Mariner fandom who like Melvin and think he deserved to come back, there are Cub fans who aren’t thrilled with Baker.

    As for Bavasi’s comments, I have two thoughts
    1) Maybe he’s truly sincere — he felt like the failures this year were that of the players (true) and it wasn’t until recently he was convinced that Melvin was below average as a manager
    2) Maybe he’s being nice. As you said, there’s no point in running Melvin into the ground. I mean this is the same organization that two years ago said he “was absolutely the right man for the job”. Yes I realize that’s pre-Bavasi.

  42. John Hawkins on October 4th, 2004 2:32 pm

    I know it sounds kind of goofy to suggest guys making millions per year need a manager to “get the most out of them” but really, it’s true, and it’s pretty clear Melvin didn’t do that. Take Boone for example. Boone is a better hitter when he goes opposite field, and he starts having trouble when he gets pull-happy. Sweet Lou reminded Boone of that, a couple of times by dumping him down to 7th in the lineup when he thought Boone was trying to pull the ball too much.

    Yeah, it’s fine to say a professional baseball player is, you know, a professional and should motivate himself to do the right things. But even someone with Edgar’s work ethic only has so much time, and a good manager will help make sure they’re spending that time on the most important things. Should Boone spend an hour in the cage working on going up the middle, on his two-strike stance, on laying down a perfect bunt (just seeing if you guys are awake…) or what? Pinella made sure the players knew what he wanted. I don’t think Melvin did the same. Maybe he’ll get better with more experience. I hope he gets the chance, but somewhere else.

  43. sidereal on October 4th, 2004 2:57 pm

    There’s a poll up on the Seattle Times site asking whether Melvin deserves the blame for the Mariners’ bad season. Oddly, one of the choices is ‘It’s more complicated’, which is sort of defeats the purpose, since 100% of all people should vote ‘it’s more complicated’ for any poll given the chance.

    But 20% are voting Yes. That’s crazy. I think Melvin is a bad manager. But if you think that Piniella or anyone else managing the same team would have made it competitive, you’re hepped up on goofballs.

  44. PaulP on October 4th, 2004 3:40 pm

    It’s entirely possible that Bavasi doesn’t think Melvin is a bad manager. With so many other reasons for the M’s stinking this year, it’s easy to defect the blame. So it wasn’t until 5 or 6 days ago that Bavasi relized that no matter how good of manager Melvin is, there is no way he can come back and have a successful team next year. The fans, press, management and probably the players, just wouldn’t allow it. In other words, something had to be done, and firing half the front office wasn’t going to do it.

  45. ChrisK on October 4th, 2004 4:04 pm

    I’m sure it was not easy for them to fire Melvin. He personifies the nice-guy image that is core to their marketing strategy. However, they needed someone to take the fall after this year – since they claim they will “bring back the mojo” next season (which I will believe when I see). His in-game decisions ranged from average to inexplicable, so I’m not sad to see him go.

    I’m sure they will go after a similiar media/fan-friendly personality for their next hire. Just don’t let it be Art Howe.

  46. Adam S on October 4th, 2004 5:43 pm

    On the Melvin poll at the Seattle Times. I didn’t vote but of the choices I’d pick “Yes”.

    Certainly it’s not all his fault (I think that was your “goofball” reference) but he isn’t blameless either. I blame the players mostly, the front office, and Melvin as well with maybe a 65-20-15 split.

  47. PositivePaul on October 4th, 2004 6:09 pm

    Actually, I voted “yes” because it is phrased thusly:

    “Do you blame Melvin for the Mariner’s bad season.”

    It doesn’t ask if you solely blame him. Indeed I blame Melvin. Indeed I blame the front office. Indeed I blame the players. However, as poorly as this team was built, no one expected them to darn near lose 100 games. I think the worst prediction I saw was third place with 75 wins. Not exactly a playoff contending team, which was not a surprise, but not a team who would totally collapse the way they did.

    Either actively or passively, I still honestly believe that BoMel was given a decent team, and he just lost control from the get-go. It is indeed his fault, and he should be the first to go. Actually, I still say that Lincoln should be the first to go, but he won’t fire himself, so that ain’t going to happen. Let’s hope (though I don’t expect) Lincoln’s words meld into actions that make this team competitive next year and beyond. I like this first step. I also like that Bavasi and Boonie are taking the blame. They deserve it as well. With Edgar riding off into the sunset, the nail is in the coffin of the “glory days.” It’s time for a new generation of players to take over, and a new challenge to be overcome.

    BoMel’s probably got that “really nice guy, but let’s just be friends” feeling right about now. Or worse, I can imagine.

    See you BoMel! Indeed, you’re really a nice guy, but let’s just be friends…

  48. Baseball Musings on October 4th, 2004 7:13 pm
    We Like You, You’re Fired
    This has to be one of the strangest firings of all time. Bob Melvin is out as manager of the Mariners: During a 55-minute news conference, Bavasi spoke highly of Melvin and insisted the Seattle organization liked him. “To the…