The Oakland Athletics rewarded their management team with new contracts after wrapping up a successful 2018 season in which the team made the playoffs.
The A’s announced last week that their three highest-ranking management figures, President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane, General Manager David Forst and Manager Bob Melvin all received contract extensions.
Beane, Forst and Melvin all had just one year remaining on their respective contracts prior to the new ones. However, there had been indications in the past that the trio was not headed for a break up with the team.
In 2017, the A’s rejected a request by the New York Yankees to interview Melvin for their manager job. Forst also declined the chance to interview with the cross-bay rival San Francisco Giants, who began searching for a new general manager earlier this year.
Typically, if the A’s had any aspirations to move on from either Forst or Melvin, the duo would have been allowed to interview elsewhere. Beane is a different case altogether, with a unique circumstance.
Beane is technically employed by the A’s, but in 2005, former owner Lew Wolff bought the team and gave Beane an ownership stake in the team. Beane’s ownership stake at that time was said to be “less than five percent” of the franchise, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Keeping all three in place is a coup for the A’s as they look toward the future. Oakland surprised the baseball world in 2018 by winning 97 games and making the playoffs.
The A’s will no longer be an underdog going forward and will enter 2019 with lofty expectations in an effort to build on their 2018 success.
There is, however, another issue surrounding Oakland. The A’s are still in search of a new stadium, either at the current Coliseum complex or elsewhere in Oakland. The A’s’ decision to keep the management team in place factors into the stadium discussion because it is Beane and Forst who control the players on the roster.
The A’s have a couple of young players who have immense potential: Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. Both Chapman and Olson won Gold Gloves in 2018 for their defensive success at third base and first base. A new stadium would be expected to provide an influx of money that would allow the A’s to keep their young players in place long-term.
The A’s decision to extend their management trio provides a sense of stability for the team immediately. Melvin is one of three finalists for baseball’s “Manager of the Year” award, and he is now under contract through 2021, according to the team. Forst is under contract through 2023, and Beane’s contract terms were not disclosed.
The A’s, especially thanks to the “Moneyball” book and subsequent movie, have earned a reputation throughout the years of excelling with inexpensive rosters. That is largely what the A’s did in 2018 as well. That trend will continue for the cash-strapped A’s until Oakland secures a new ballpark.
Luckily for the team, the A’s have the right management in place and three key figures who are used to the low-budget conditions and thrive in them. Beane, Forst and Melvin, would have had an abundance of opportunities elsewhere had the A’s not extended their contracts. The extensions mean Oakland’s brain trust will remain entrenched for years to come.
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