The news flashed out of nowhere, which is probably the most worrying thing. The Padres hired Bob Melvin as a manager, which is great for them. Melvin has been making the most out of whatever he’s been given in Oakland for a decade now, and a lot of that time it has been a mishmash of misfit toys. He’ll immediately command respect with a Padres team that needed a rutter last season. Except that it’s a lateral move, technically, and the A’s didn’t even ask for compensation. Again, alarm bells, because usually to poach a manager a team would have to give up something.
Why so giving?
Certainly the A’s have treated Melvin well, and being from the Bay Area, managing the A’s would have been as close to a dream job for him as possible — or so you’d think. So why was he happy to leave, and the A’s to let him go? Obviously, the possibilities with the Padres are massive, and would be greater than the A’s at any time just because of the payrolls. Still, it’s not like the A’s have been helpless recently, and we’re in it this past season until the final week.
But this isn’t a normal time, and the A’s seem determined to torpedo the affection anyone might have for them in the East Bay so that they can move to Vegas. Melvin clearly saw the writing on the wall, at least that’s the best guess. The A’s haven’t made it much of a secret, and there was a lot of buzz last night that this move was only the first of many:
The A’s have already raised ticket prices, and gotten rid of some popular programs that made it easier for fans to attend games at the decidedly un-fan friendly Coliseum. Even though the Alameda County Board voted through a non-binding approval of the plan to build a new stadium in Oakland, the A’s have made no secret that they’re still not happy with the plan the city wants to go with. Because they want it all: the real estate development with all the commercial and residential space around the stadium that they don’t pay a dime for, but also reap all the profits. Tuesday’s vote moved a new stadium closer to reality for the A’s, but Rob Manfred has been pushing for quick resolutions with no hassles, which he’s much more likely to get in Vegas than Oakland, which still has a city council to navigate.
So with that, the A’s are probably going to slash payroll, as if the A’s were ever big spenders or weren’t the posterboys for a team having to do it “on the poor.” Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are likely to go. Sean Manea and Frankie Montas might not be far behind. Combined with those raised ticket prices and a garbage team, one might get the impression that the A’s want to salt the Earth in Oakland to then point to and claim there’s no saving themselves in this market. Making it all the easier for the sweetheart deal that awaits in Nevada, no matter what the city of Oakland comes up with.
If baseball had a real commissioner, which it hasn’t in decades, that person would actually veto any trades the A’s are about to make. But I might as well sit around and wait for the Easter Bunny.