Bob Melvin out of Oakland, on to San Diego
We had a night off from the World Series on Thursday, but it wasn’t a break from baseball as some shocking news came down out west. Bob Melvin, two-time Manager of the Year and generally considered to be on the shortlist of best managers in the game, is leaving the Oakland Athletics to manage the San Diego Padres, according to reports. Melvin had his 2022 option picked up by the Athletics earlier in the year, but they granted permission for Melvin to interview with the Padres and will not get any compensation for the move.
The positive side of this whole situation is certainly on the Padres side of things. They are a team loaded with talent, but one that crashed and burned in the second half this past year to go from one of the popular preseason World Series picks to out of the playoff picture altogether. It was clear they needed a steady, experienced voice in this locker room, and it’s hard to top Melvin in that respect.
But from the Athletics side, it is brutal, and this is where the Red Sox impact comes in. The obvious part is that Oakland loses one of the best managers in baseball, and a guy who had played a major role in them being a perennial playoff contender despite an ownership keeping the payroll limited.
And beyond that, this is expected to just be the beginning of a long winter in Oakland. They are apparently very worried about salary, which is the main reason this move went down, and they have a lot of players set to make substantial amounts of money in arbitration this winter. That includes but is not limited to Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, and Chris Bassitt. Oakland is poised for a fire sale this winter, and with the Red Sox in firm position as buyers they should be taking a long look at this roster to find good fits.
Nick Anderson undergoes surgery
The Rays have shown an ability to build a formidable bullpen from just about nothing year in and year out, and two years ago the reliever they turned into a star out of nowhere was Nick Anderson. The righty was elite in both 2019 and 2020, but suffered an arm injury before the 2021 season. He ended up only being able to pitch in a handful of September games this past year, and now will be going under the knife. He’s not expected to pitch again until after the All-Star break in 2022.
This is obviously bad for the Rays, and anything bad for the Rays is good for the Red Sox even if it feels gross to paint injuries in that light. Of course, Tampa Bay had no trouble at all piecing together an elite bullpen largely without Anderson in 2021, either. So while they’d rather have Anderson than not, there’s still little reason to believe their bullpen won’t be outstanding either way.
Jeter Downs and Triston Casas walking down in Arizona
Most of the Red Sox prospects had the day off down in the AFL on Thursday, but the two biggest names did play. That would be Jeter Downs and Triston Casas, who got starts at second base and first base, respectively. Neither player had an extra-base hit, but they were both on base a whole lot in this one. Downs went 1-4 with a single, two walks and an RBI. He also made a fielding error, stole a base, and was caught stealing. Casas, meanwhile, went 1-3 with a single and three walks, crossing the plate three times.