Melvin to return as Padres manager, GM says

SAN DIEGO — Bob Melvin will be back as manager of the big-spending San Diego Padres following the most disappointing season in franchise history, general manager A.J. Preller said Wednesday.

The GM also downplayed reports of a fractured relationship with Melvin, who has guided the Padres to the only two winning records in a full season under Preller and has a year left on his contract.

“Bob is our manager and is going to be our manager going forward,” Preller said during a video news conference. “A lot’s been said in the last few weeks, obviously, but both he and I are very excited about the challenge of getting this group back to the postseason next year.”

The announcement came three days after the star-laden Padres finished 82-80. They were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night, a bitter result for a team that entered the season with World Series aspirations after making a stirring run to the NL Championship Series last fall and then increasing their payroll to around $258 million on Opening Day, the third-highest in baseball.

Melvin finished his second season with San Diego and 20th overall as a big league manager. Preller, on his fifth manager since his hiring in August 2014. minimized discord.

“From my standpoint, a lot’s been overblown,” Preller said. “There have been reports that, hey, we don’t speak. We’re talking four or five times a day. Personally, we have a friendship. I don’t put a lot of stock into the unnamed reports and sources and stories that are out of context.”

Melvin didn’t respond to a text seeking comment and the team didn’t make him available. He’s been voted Manger of the Year three times, including in both leagues.

“Both he and I are very excited about the challenge of getting this group back to the postseason next year,” Preller said Wednesday. “With Bob and myself, I think even in the last couple of days you get a chance to recap and look at some different things. Both of us feel really good about where things are going forward.”

Preller said this season was both “frustrating and disappointing.”

“We never really fired on all cylinders,” Preller said. “We didn’t play the baseball that we thought we were capable of from the starting point of the season.

“Personally, for myself, it feels like a lost and missed opportunity. It’s not every year as a general manager that you can honestly look up at the start of the season and feel like, hey, if we got a few breaks, that we could hoist the World Series trophy, and I felt like that at the start of this year.”

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