Oakland Athletics celebration

The Oakland Athletics announced today that reigning AL Manager of the year Bob Melvin has been extended through the 2016 season.

Melvin took over for Bob Geren midway through 2011 and in a year and a half turned a group that had disappointed in 2011 into the most surprising Division Champions of 2012.

The A’s went 94-68 in his first full season at the helm with Melvin getting the most out of a very young team that got significant output from 10 rookies, including at one point an all-rookie starting rotation. The way that Melvin was able to manage the young team was a big part of the success of 2012 and a significant reason for the optimism that surrounds the team coming into 2013.

From Oakland’s press release:

The Athletics’ 94 victories represented a 20-game improvement from the previous season (74-88), the third biggest one-year turnaround in Oakland history.  Melvin became the second manager in Oakland history to earn the BBWAA’s Manager of the Year award, joining Tony LaRussa (1988 and 1992).  He also became only the 14th manager in history to win the award at least twice in a career, and only the sixth manager to win the award in both leagues.  Previously, Melvin was named National League Manager of the Year with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007.

Oakland trailed Texas by five games with nine to play last season and became the first team in Major League history to rally from a deficit of five or more games with fewer than 10 games remaining to win a division or pennant.  The A’s were also 13 games behind the Rangers on June 30, thus becoming only the fifth team in Major League annals to win a division or pennant after trailing by that large of deficit.

Under Melvin’s leadership, the A’s registered the best record (72-38) in the Majors after June 1.  His 2012 club staged a Major League-leading 14 walk-off victories, including eight within a 16-game home stretch from June 21 through July 22.  Yet, Oakland saved its best walk-off for last, rallying from a 3-1 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 4 of the ALDS against Detroit to shock the Tigers and extend the series to a fifth game.

Melvin, a native of Palo Alto who attended both Cal and Menlo-Atherton High School, has posted a 141-120 record (.574) since taking over the A’s reins.  In his nine seasons of managing Seattle (2003-04), Arizona (2005-09) and Oakland (2011-12), he has registered a Major League career record of 634-628 (.502).

Lately it seems like if you’re looking for a potential great manager, direct your attention to the league’s backup catchers (George Kottaras, anyone?). Melvin played 692 games over 10 seasons, finishing with a career slash line of .233/.268/.337 while throwing out 32% of attempted base-stealers. San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy played about half as much as Melvin (358 games over nine seasons), with a slash of .239/.298/.388 and a 29% CS rate from behind the plate.

Melvin’s career WAR (according to Baseball Reference) is 1.7, while Bochy provided 2.0 wins above replacement. Pretty safe to say their respective franchises believe they’ve provided more than a couple extra wins to their teams as managers.