Padres manager Bob Melvin has been given permission by the team to interview with the Giants about their managerial vacancy, according to The Athletic’s Dennis Lin and Andrew Baggarly. “Melvin has emerged as the favorite in San Francisco, with league sources indicating that he received assurances he would be a top candidate before he agreed to participate in the interview process,” Lin and Baggarly write.
Reports surfaced two days ago that the Giants were temporarily halting their search for a new manager while waiting to hear back from rival teams for their go-ahead to interview employees. Melvin was chief among this new group of candidates, and it could very well be that the Giants were specifically waiting on the Padres on whether or not Melvin would be allowed to speak with the division rival. Melvin is still under contract with San Diego through the end of the 2024 season, though rumors have swirled for months about Melvin’s future with the club and his relationship with president of baseball operations A.J. Preller.
By this point, it would seem like an upset if Melvin doesn’t end up as San Francisco’s next manager. While the official interview has yet to take place, Melvin and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi are quite familiar with each other — Melvin was the Athletics’ manager when Zaidi began his baseball career in Oakland’s front office over a decade ago. Lin and Baggarly note that it could create an even more awkward situation between Melvin and Preller if Melvin didn’t end up getting the Giants job, so perhaps regardless of what happens with the San Francisco interview, Melvin might not be back as the Padres’ skipper in 2024.
Back in September, Lin and Ken Rosenthal delved into the internal issues that have plagued the Padres organization even before their disappointing 2023 season. Chief among these problems is the allegedly frosty relationship between Melvin and Preller, though both men have downplayed the idea of any discord. After the Padres finished with only an 82-80 record this season, there was plenty of speculation that either Melvin or both Melvin and Preller could be fired, yet club chairman Peter Seidler gave a full vote of confidence to his management team at season’s end. Preller also stated soon afterward that “Bob is our manager, and he’s going to be our manager going forward,” seemingly putting the matter to rest.
However, many pundits felt a parting was coming sooner rather than the later, especially when the Giants’ managerial position became open after Gabe Kapler was fired. The past ties between Melvin and Zaidi made the veteran skipper a logical candidate from day one, assuming the hurdle of the Padres’ clearance for an interview could be jumped.
It is possible the Padres and Giants might work out a trade to officially send Melvin to the Bay Area, or the Padres might simply see this as an opportunity for a fresh start. Melvin leaving for another job rather than being fired, as Baggarly and Lin note, would save the Padres the $4MM owed to the manager in salary for the 2024 season. This tracks with the Padres’ overall plan to cut costs next season, ranging from both internal financial matters like a manager’s salary to player payroll.
If Melvin was to be hired by the Giants, San Diego would suddenly be in need of a new manager, though Lin and Baggarly cite bench coach Ryan Flaherty and coach Mike Shildt as possible candidates to take over the job. Best known for his days as an Orioles utilityman, Flaherty has been on the Padres’ coaching staff for the last four seasons, and was promoted to bench coach prior to the 2023 campaign. Prior to hiring Melvin, Preller’s previous two managerial hires were Andy Green and Jayce Tingler, who (like Flaherty) had never managed at the MLB level.
On the other hand, Shildt is a former skipper, managing the Cardinals from 2018-2021 and leading the club to postseason appearances in the last three of those seasons. Shildt was rather surprisingly fired after the 2021 season due to what Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak described as “philosophical differences,” and the Padres then interviewed Shildt for the managerial vacancy that was eventually filled by Melvin. San Diego ended up hiring Shildt anyway that winter for a player development position, and he moved into a coaching role this past season.