Bob Melvin has repeatedly described the comfort of managing right at home in the Bay Area — and Billy Beane has described the comfort in having a winning, "modern-day" manager leading the Oakland Athletics.
Melvin is staying put in the very place he wants to be well into the future.
The A's manager received a two-year contract extension Monday that takes him through the 2016 season. Later Monday, Oakland announced it had reached agreement on a $1 million US, one-year contract with catcher George Kottaras, a raise of $275,000.
Beane is thrilled to have a manager in place to guide the small-budget A's for years to come.
"To get an extension like this from people you respect and admire and supported you, it really makes you feel good and makes you feel better about doing your job," said Melvin, voted AL Manager of the Year after leading Oakland to a surprising West division title. "My expectations are the same as last year. We're going to compete hard and expect to win. Based on having the results we had last year, we'll have that much more confidence coming into spring training."
Oakland became the first team in major league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with less than 10 to play, sweeping three games against Texas to win the division over the Rangers.
"It's really a reflection of our commitment to Bob and Bob's commitment to us. If you know you have the right guy, there's no sense in waiting until he's got one year left," general manager Billy Beane said. "This was probably the simplest negotiation I've ever had in my career here. That's a reflection of the relationship that Bob has with the organization. We're happy to give him this well-deserved extension. It didn't take very long. The actual writing it up took longer than the actual negotiations."
A's fall to Tigers
Oakland lost to Detroit 3-2 in a best-of-five AL division series. The A's ended a five-year stretch without a winning record or playoff berth, finishing 94-68.
The A's did it with a payroll of $59.5 million — lowest in the majors — and 12 rookies. They did it with significant injuries to their starting pitchers and lost their third baseman, Scott Sizemore, to a season-ending knee injury on the first full-squad workout of spring training. And they did it after losing right-hander Bartolo Colon to a 50-game suspension in August for a positive testosterone test, then re-signed him this winter.
The 51-year-old Melvin, a former big league catcher who grew up in Menlo Park and played at Cal, took over from the fired Bob Geren in June 2011. Melvin led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title in 2007 and also won 93 games in his rookie season with Seattle in 2003.
"We knew we had the right guy right from the get go. Continuity is important," Beane said. "It's really important. Once again last year was certainly enjoyable. It's easy to look at a year like last year and everybody has fun when you're winning. This relationship with Bob and myself and the front office and the players started when he took over."
Melvin received a three-year contract from Oakland late in the 2011 season. The A's went 47-52 after he took over that year.
His local ties are only a bonus. Melvin played three seasons with the San Francisco Giants.
"I was excited and impressed when Billy told me that Bob was available and accepting the manager role with us," owner Lew Wolff said. "As I observed Bob's leadership and very special drive, I was even more impressed with Billy's choice. I am so very pleased that we will have Bob with us for the foreseeable future. Bob's use of our talent was and is brilliant in my opinion."
Kottaras, acquired from Milwaukee before last year's trade deadline, batted .212 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 27 games for Oakland after hitting .209 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 58 games with the Brewers.
Three A's remain eligible to file for arbitration Tuesday: left-hander Jerry Blevins and outfielders Brandon Moss and Seth Smith.