Doug Melvin finally got his man. Six years after former-Athletics’ manager Ken Macha spurned the Brewers’ offer to become the manager of the club, Macha relinquished his ties with the team Thursday, for what will reportedly be a two-year deal through 2010. The hiring came just weeks after 16-game incumbent Dale Sveum was ousted by the organization in favor of a man with longer-tenured winning experience. Among those who fit Melvin’s criteria: former Mets’ skipper Willie Randolph, ex-D-Backs’ manager Bob Brenly and Macha. All three were interviewed and seemingly in contention for the job until this past week, when rumor had it Macha would be the choice. Aside from the interest he drew from management six seasons ago, Macha’s proven track record in the AL proved to be the kicker. The man with 35 years of major-league experience (both playing, coaching and broadcasting) complied a 368-260 record as head man of the A’s from 2003-2006, winning the AL West twice.
The staunch-demeanored Macha said in his press-conference Thursday that he and Melvin have begun to discuss potential coaches who can fill out the staff, with Sveum’s name on the top of the list. Melvin said Sveum has expressed in returning with the club in some capacity, most likely as the bench or third-base coach. Other vacancies left to fill are the hitting and possibly pitching coaches, with Mike Maddux’s contract due up tomorrow. Maddux will likely show interest in the Rangers’ pitching coach position in large part due to the close proximity to Texas El-Paso (his alma-mater), Houston (his last stop in the majors), and AA-Round Rock (where he spent three years on now-Ranger bench coach Jackie Moore’s staff).
With the managerial position now filled, Melvin’s primary focus will shift to the Hot Stove, which begins with the annual GM Meetings next week in California. On the immediate docket for Melvin will be how much to offer CC Sabathia (who is primed for a $100 million + contract this winter) and whether to extend a $10 million team-option to center-fielder Mike Cameron.
Other potentially burning questions yet to be answered:
1) What to do with J.J. Hardy, who has “blocked” top-prospect Alcides Escobar’s job?
2) Will Prince Fielder be a Brewer next year, and if not, where could he land?
3) How to shore up an almost certain, “Eric Gagneless” bullpen next year?