Melvin's reputation could help in free agency

Melvin's reputation could help in free agency

Melvin's reputation could help in free agency
OAKLAND -- The notion that manager Bob Melvin, awarded a three-year contract on Wednesday, will bring about a long line of free agents outside the Oakland Coliseum's doors this winter is wishful thinking.

But it's not so crazy to think that his presence might help in the matter. The A's have long been the outcasts of such a market because of the club's dreary stadium situation, but perhaps Melvin could entice players who would normally not even consider donning the green and gold.

"Absolutely," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "First and foremost, I think there are other issues that have come up, but I do think that could be the case. When it comes to Bob, he has a great reputation not only with his club already but throughout the league. And so I would agree he certainly would be helpful in that sense."

Still, Beane would likely have to overpay for these players. But he's tried to do so in the past, anyway, unsuccessfully reeling in free agents such as Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman despite hefty offers. That part of the process won't change, but maybe Melvin could represent another factor.

"When you talk to players, and they hear Bob's name, you don't hear one negative thing come out of their mouth, and it's not like he's only been in one place," A's outfielder Josh Willingham said. "I think it could definitely only help getting some guys over to Oakland."

Perhaps it might play into the free agent-to-be Willingham's decision, too?

"Absolutely," he said. "I've got a lot of respect for Bob and what he does and what he's been able to do. That's big for this team, to go ahead and sign him to a three-year deal, and for sure that will be something I consider."

Willingham is enjoying perhaps the most productive season of his eight-year career, entering Wednesday with a team-leading 27 home runs and 92 RBIs, which also represent career highs. The outfielder has yet to discuss a contract extension with Oakland and is set to file for free agency at season's end.

That doesn't rule out his return, though. And Melvin, now on board through 2014, is perhaps his biggest fan.

"Everyone always says that, being a small-market club, you have a lot of turnover," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "To have that continuity with Melvin here, I think will be great. I think things are only going to get better with him here. I think a lot of guys here respect him a lot. First and foremost, that's what you need from your manager. Bob's done everything right."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.