May 23, 2024

Did the San Francisco Giants just hire Bruce Bochy lite?

After spending Monday in interviews with Giants brass, Bob Melvin has reportedly accepted an offer to become the team’s manager, ditching his current employer, the San Diego Padres. The hiring was first reported Tuesday by the Athletic.

Melvin is as universally liked and admired by players as Bochy, but he presided over the underachieving Padres the last two seasons, unable to surpass the Dodgers in the National League West standings, although they did beat L.A. in the 2022 division series. The Padres decided to retain Melvin, but gave the Giants permission to contact him.

Bochy, of course, is beloved throughout the Bay Area after leading the Giants to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He will seek another title beginning Friday when his Texas Rangers play Tuesday’s winner of the NLCS Game 7 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Like Melvin, Bochy jumped to the Giants while under contract with the Padres, who gave him permission to interview with the Giants after the 2006 season. After two losing seasons, Bochy righted the ship in 2009 and a year later won his first World Series.

Melvin, who turns 62 on Saturday, observed Bochy’s postseason brilliance from underneath his shadow as manager of the Oakland Athletics from 2011-2021.

Melvin has a higher career regular-season winning percentage than Bochy, who surprisingly is at .499 over 26 seasons even after gaining 18 games in the win column this season with Texas. Melvin sits at .516 over 20 seasons, but has never led a team to the World Series.

The two longtime managers are friends and have similar backgrounds. Both were backup big league catchers, with Melvin’s playing career a bit more accomplished, having batted .233 in 10 years while never taking more than 301 at-bats in a season. Bochy lasted nine years, batting .239 while never taking more than the 154 at-bats he had as a Houston Astros rookie in 1978.

Both are humble, adept at shifting the spotlight to their players when things go well and shielding them from criticism when things go haywire.

Melvin grew up in the Bay Area, attending Menlo-Atherton High before playing for Cañada College in Redwood City and Cal. He was drafted and broke into the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers, but they traded him to the Giants in 1985 and he spent the next three seasons playing under manager Roger Craig.

Melvin has been voted manager of the year three times, twice with the A’s and once with the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom he managed from 2006-2009. He isn’t the only manager to take the reins of more than one NL West team. Bud Black went from the Padres to the Rockies, where he currently presides, and Jim Tracy managed the Dodgers from 2001-2005 and the Rockies from 2009-2012.

Melvin succeeds Gabe Kapler, who was fired during the last week of the season after nearly four years at the helm. Kapler led the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins in 2021 but the team dipped to 81-81 in 2022 and under .500 this season after a September tailspin.

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