After another disappointing postseason for the Oakland A’s, there is an outcry to fire manager Bob Melvin. This nonsense needs to stop.
The Oakland A’s entered the 2020 season with lofty goals. They were seemingly primed to win the American League West, given the Astros losses heading into the season. But that was not going to be enough – after multiple disappointing playoff performances, the A’s had their sights set on returning to the World Series for the first time since 1990. The weight of those expectations, for better or for worse, would be placed squarely upon manager Bob Melvin‘s shoulders.
The A’s accomplished that first goal. They easily won the division, the only team in the West to finish above .500. The A’s also escaped the first round, getting past the White Sox in three games. But that would not be enough as an ALDS showdown with the Astros was next on the docket.
And that is where the party ended. The A’s pitching staff imploded at the worst possible time, leading to their defeat in four games. Once again, the postseason ended in disappointment, this time the defeat even more bitter given who the opponent was.
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Naturally, the disappointment of the fanbase has to be directed somewhere. That target has been Melvin, whose occasionally questionable pitching moves placed him directly in the line of fire. The fans are calling for his head, looking to make him the sacrificial lamb for the A’s postseason struggles.
But this ignores the manager that Melvin is. He has guided the A’s to a 767-688 record over his decade at the helm, winning three division titles and reaching the postseason six times. Melvin has won the Manager of the Year award three times, including twice during his tenure in Oakland, doing so in 2012 and 2018.
The fact of the matter is, the A’s are lucky to have Melvin on their bench. This is not a franchise that spends on their roster, staying within a specific budget and hoping for the best. Nonetheless, expectations are almost always high for the A’s, primarily due to Melvin’s ability to get the most out of his roster.
Oakland also does not rebuild in the traditional sense. While they may trade their players once they become too expensive, they tend not to sink to the bottom of the standings. The A’s do not get those high draft picks, selecting the perceived top talent. And yet, year after year, they contend more often than not.
Yes, a part of that is the Oakland A’s system. But Bob Melvin is an important part of that system as well. Calling for his head after the pitching staff imploded in the ALDS is not the answer.