OAKLAND (AP) — Manager Bob Melvin has been rewarded for guiding another turnaround for the Oakland Athletics, receiving a long-term contract extension.
The A’s also reached new deals with executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane and general manager David Forst. The extensions for all three of the team’s leadership members were announced Monday. Under Melvin’s guidance, a young, slugging Oakland club went 97-65 and lost the wild-card game 7-2 to the New York Yankees.
With majors’ home run leader Khris Davis leading the way, the A’s reached the postseason for the first time since 2014 following consecutive last-place finishes in the AL West. They trailed the Mariners by 11 games in the wild-card race on June 15 before a strong second half — not to mention all the comeback wins and walkoffs — pushed them into the playoffs.
“I’m proud of the tremendous success of our team under the leadership of Billy, David and Bob and am excited to have that continue for years to come,” A’s managing general partner John Fisher said.
Last year, Melvin received a contract through the 2019 season. A person with direct knowledge of the deals said Melvin’s new contract is through 2021 with a club option for 2022. Forst’s deal goes through 2023. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because details of the contracts were not being announced.
The surprising A’s caught the country’s attention. They went 63-29 from June 16 through the rest of the season for the fourth-best record in baseball. Yet it was the top mark in the majors during that stretch — ahead of World Series champion Boston’s 60-31. Oakland also went a majors-best 31-14 in one-run games and had 10 walkoff victories.
With his starting staff slim late in the season, Melvin turned to using an “opener” for an inning before going with another pitcher as a long man, and most everything he tried worked out well in 2018.
The 57-year-old Melvin, who joined Oakland in 2011, improved his managerial record with the A’s to 634-599 (.514). His wins are third-most in franchise history behind Connie Mack (3,582) and Tony La Russa (798).
Oakland won 20 more games this season, the third time a team managed by Melvin has improved by 20 wins from the previous year.
Forst will begin his 20th season with the A’s and fourth as GM. He was promoted to GM on Oct. 5, 2015, when Beane assumed his current position.
The A’s believed from the start of the 2018 season that they had a contending club, even with an opening-day payroll of $66,039,675 that ranked lowest in the American League and second-lowest in baseball ahead of the Phillies.
Davis led the majors with 48 home runs, his third straight 40-homer season.
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