Bob Melvin was the manager of the Seattle Mariners from 2003-04 and of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2005-09, winning Manager of the Year with the NL West Champion Diamondbacks in 2007. Those ’07 Diamondbacks managed to make the playoffs despite being outscored by their opponents in the regular season, which is weird. Previously, Melvin was a scout and bench coach for the Brewers, and then a bench coach for the Detroit Tigers (2000) and Diamondbacks (2001-02) before becoming the Mariners manager in 2003. Melvin, tragically born with two first names, is currently a scout in the Mets organization. “Scout,” as used here, is a fancy term meaning “we’ll pay you to hang around for a year and then maybe we’ll give you a managerial job.” This comes out to a 69 on my made up coaching experience scale, the second highest of the six candidates.
During his younger years, Melvin spent ten years in the major leagues, playing for seven different teams. In 1987, Melvin hit 11 home runs and threw out 43% of would-be base stealers as a backup catcher, but also managed to bat .199. Nonetheless, it was his best season. (He wasn’t very good.) He had 0.9 career wins above replacement.
As a major league manager Melvin is nicknamed “The Mad Scientist” because he reanimated dead tissue from several corpses into first baseman Mark Reynolds. (Possibly.) He might also be nicknamed “The Mad Scientist” for using an amorphous lineup in Arizona, subbing players in and out at will and hitting them in whatever spot he felt might work. This may or may not have annoyed said players. He has said he believes in hitting high on-base guys near the top of the order, which is good, but I have no idea how statistically inclined he really is. His teams bunted moderately, had good stolen base percentages, and issued a middling number of intentional walks. As for being fiery, he was good for 2-5 ejections per season. Take that for whatever you will. Melvin gets a 7 on my made up managerial strategy scale.
However, given a young team in Arizona that saw early success, Melvin was fired in the middle of 2009 with the halted development of some players as the cited reason. Center fielder Chris Young failed to blossom until this season, outfielder Carlos Quinten struggled until being traded to Chicago, and first baseman Conor Jackson fell apart and then fell ill in 2009. The 2007 Diamondbacks massively overachieved, which probably raised expectations too high for Melvin’s 2008 and 2009 squads — his team’s early success doomed him. If my memory serves me correctly, Melvin was also in an awkward and unfunny commercial for the Sonic fastfood chain a few years ago.
Despite that, he’d be an acceptable manager.
Managerial Odds: 5 to 1. There isn’t anything great to say about him, but there isn’t anything awful, either. He’s qualified if boring. If the Mets are looking for an in-house candidate with big league managerial experience, Melvin is the right choice.