05/17/11 9:13 PM ET
Melvin returns to D-backs in advisory role
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Melvin has agreed to return to the organization he once managed as a special baseball advisor reporting to team president and CEO Derrick Hall.
In his new role, Melvin will assist not just the baseball operations department, but also other business divisions of the organization.
"It's great to be back," Melvin said. "I feel as far as baseball goes, this is my home."
"We missed him, he missed us," Hall said.
Melvin managed the D-backs from 2005 until being dismissed on May 8, 2009 by then GM Josh Byrnes. He compiled a 337-340 record. Since his dismissal the D-backs are 140-195.
Byrnes hired A.J. Hinch, who did not have any managerial or coaching experience, to replace Melvin, setting in motion a chain of events that wound up costing both Byrnes and Hinch their jobs 14 months later.
Hall was asked if the hiring back of Melvin was an admission that the organization erred in dismissing him initially.
"No, the organization went through changes that at the time felt like needed to be made, and there have been changes made since then, as well," Hall said. "And you just realize that someone with Bob's talent is out there and available. I'm all about surrounding ourselves with the right people, and about culture. This is somebody that should be here, deserves to be here."
In 2007, Melvin led the D-backs to a National League-best 90 wins, as they went on to sweep the Cubs in the NL Division Series before losing to the Rockies in the NL Championship Series. For his efforts that year, Melvin was named the NL's Manager of the Year.
The D-backs went 82-80 in 2008 and finished second, two games behind the Dodgers. They started off the 2009 season slowly and were 12-17 when Byrnes decided to make a change. Melvin was hired before Byrnes had become GM, and the two had grown apart over the few years they worked together.
Melvin used that as a way of letting Hall off the hook with regards to his dismissal.
"When there's a little bit of a disconnect between the manager and the general manager, it's difficult," Melvin said. "You want to do the best for the organization, and I understand the way things turned out."
In addition to scouting domestic and international professional and amateur players, Melvin will work as a mentor to managers in the Arizona Minor League system and make appearances in the community while also serving as an analyst on team broadcasts.
"Having the opportunity to do multiple things was one of the really intriguing aspects of this," Melvin said. "I talked with [managing general partner] Ken [Kendrick] and Derrick a couple of times, and it just seemed like a great fit for me. I have a lot of respect for both those guys, so it was an easy decision for me to make to come back."
Melvin has a long history with the D-backs, having served as the team's bench coach from 2001-02 under then manager Bob Brenly. As manager, he pushed for the hiring of Kirk Gibson as his bench coach in 2007. Gibson would later take over the managerial reigns following last season's dismissal of Hinch.
While he expressed a desire to manage in the future, Melvin said he would pursue that opportunity in other organizations and was not in any way going to overshadow Gibson.
"Gibby and I are good friends, and I'm always going to be supportive of him," Melvin said. "He's going to do a great job, is doing a great job, and bringing in [GM] Kevin Towers is a terrific hire, as well. I'm a big fan of both those guys."
"I think it's outstanding," Gibson said of the hire. "I'm glad to have him back. You know how much I respect the guy, he's been a friend of mine since 1985. It's been a very tough time for him since the day that he got let go here. He needs to get back in the game, what better place to be. They asked me about it, couldn't have a better guy come back. He's, beyond being a good friend of mine, he's taught me a tremendous amount, and he gave me my opportunity there, so I'm ecstatic to have him back."
Melvin also managed the Mariners in 2003-04, when he had a 156-168 record, including a 93-69 mark in '03.
Following his dismissal, Melvin worked as a scout for the Mets in 2010 and was a finalist for their managerial position this past offseason. The job eventually went to Terry Collins.