Melvin named NL Manager of the Year
D-backs' manager steered his club to NL-best 90 victories
PHOENIX -- Bob Melvin may downplay the role he played in getting the D-backs to a National League-best 90 wins and the playoffs this past season, but it doesn't appear that postseason awards voters are buying it.
Melvin was named NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Wednesday, the second such award he has captured. Last month, he won a similar award from The Sporting News, which was voted on by his fellow managers.
"Awards like this end up being group awards, organizational awards to an extent," Melvin said. "When you have a good team, you have a good coaching staff and you have good people in the organization and have a good year, things like this are attainable. It certainly isn't one guy doing it."
Melvin finished with 119 points, including 19 of a possible 32 first-place votes. Charlie Manuel of the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies finished second with 76 points, receiving seven first-place votes. Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle and Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella also received first-place votes and finished third and fourth, respectively.
"I think as a leader he's very fair, he's very prepared," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said of Melvin. "He's very invested in the players and the organization, and I think that comes through. During a season so much goes wrong and you're tested so often. I think when anyone walks into the manager's office they know they're getting a very fair, prepared person who always has the organization's best interests in mind."
Melvin's communication skills were crucial as the D-backs began integrating some of the organization's top prospects into the clubhouse midway through the 2006 season. In 2007, the D-backs had one of the youngest everyday lineups in the league.
"The way I look at it in a team sport sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable accepting an individual award," Melvin said. "I think this award filters up and down throughout the organization. The group effort was really the key here starting with Josh's blueprint over the last couple of years."
Melvin also credited his coaching staff, who he said was able to have more than the typical influence on a team because of the young roster. All six members of the coaching staff will return for 2008.
"I can't say enough about the job they did," Melvin said.
As for Melvin's contract, he signed a two-year extension midway through the 2006 season that includes a team option for 2009.
|2007 NL Manager of the Year Award Voting|
|Bob Melvin, ARI||19||7||3||119|
|Charlie Manuel, PHI||7||11||8||76|
|Clint Hurdle, COL||4||10||8||58|
|Lou Piniella, CHC||2||3||6||25|
|Bud Black, SD||1||1||4|
|Manny Acta, WAS||4||4|
|Ned Yost, MIL||2||2|
Melvin and Byrnes have had discussions about another extension, and it appears that sometime soon they will agree on a deal possibly through 2010.
"We've had a few discussions and we'll keep working on it," Byrnes said. "I don't want to get into too many details."
"I'm not worried about it at all," Melvin said. "I'm locked up for next year and an option and we're talking about where we're going down the road, so I'm not worried about it at all. I would love to remain here, and the discussions that we've had would suggest that I will, so I'm not very concerned about it."
Another extension would be welcome news in the Arizona clubhouse, where Melvin has built strong relationships with his players.
"He's a heck of a manager and a heck of a guy," veteran second baseman Orlando Hudson said. "He's my favorite. I love playing for this man."
The D-backs won the NL West despite being outscored by their opponents by 20 runs and finishing last in the NL in batting average and on-base percentage, in large part because of their success in one-run games, in which they were 32-20.
"He's as well prepared as anyone I know," bench coach Kirk Gibson said. "He knows his stuff. He won't ever be outprepared."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.