A Few Moments With the Best Manager in the American League


As was noted yesterday in the brief recap of Sunday’s FanFest event, myself and Devin Pangaro were invited to sit in on a little media session with Athletics Manager Bob Melvin, Assistant GM David Forst, and 3rd base coach Mike Gallego.  Jarrod Parker was scheduled to join us, but he fell ill and was unable to make it out there.  It didn’t really matter though, as Mike Gallego did a more than admirable job of filling his time.

This article though will concentrate on the things that Bob Melvin had to say.  There really isn’t anyone in the A’s universe that doesn’t already have the utmost respect for Melvin, but the fact that he seems to really take the questions coming from a bunch of blog writers seriously shows a lot about his true character.  The first question fired his way dealt with the impending battle between Scott Sizemore and Jemile Weeks for the starting second base job.  It appeared as if the job would be Sizemore’s to lose, but Melvin seemed to indicate the Cactus League performance of each player would dictate who got the job.  He also went on to mention the presence of Adam Rosales, who he seemed to hint would be on the outside looking in because of his versatility, Grant Green, and Eric Sogard as well.  While Melvin took the time to make sure he mentioned everyone, I don’t believe for a second that Rosales, Green, or Sogard will be penciled into the lineup as the second baseman come Opening Night.  The mere mention of Green though excites this writer though, I’ve been calling for him to simply get a chance for as long as I can remember, the fact that he was mentioned before Sogard may also indicate he’s leapfrogged the bespectacled one on the organizational depth chart.

Melvin also noted that Sizemore had no limitations physically coming into Spring Training and that they only foresee some possible obstacles in just readjusting to being in the game.  His versatility also means he could see time at third base as well, meaning Josh Donaldson should not get too comfortable either.

Melvin also addressed the coaching approach to the 2013 season following the 2012 season’s success.  He and his coaching staff will seek to make sure that the team doesn’t rest on the laurels of that success in 2012, and make sure they realize they have to work every bit as hard if not harder in 2013 to build on that success.  I wanted to ask him if the fact that much of the offseason coverage on the AL West centered around all that the Angels did and all that the Rangers failed to do would impact his philosophy.  He made it clear that they didn’t want to focus on what any other team in the division was doing, but said if you asked them “they might have a little different view of us this year, than they did last year.”

The topic of Daric Barton‘s position on the depth chart also came up, and while Melvin noted that Barton is the one true defender at the first base position, he does have “potentially” more work to do than others to get playing time.  Essentially unless Barton impresses the brass like he did in 2010, and Brandon Moss or Chris Carter struggle or get injured, he’ll have an extremely steep mountain to climb to get himself onto the 25 man roster, let alone get into the lineup with any regularity.

It’s clear that Melvin has confidence in this team, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t.  But he also seems hesitant to heap praise on them either.  That is why he’s such a great manager, he knows how to get the best from his players, and continue to do so as well.  He knows this team can’t get ahead of itself, and that the accomplishments of 2012 mean absolutely nothing in 2013.

Tomorrow I’ll examine what Assistant General Manager David Forst had to say about various topics including the First Year Player Draft, the starting rotation, and more.