Winter Meetings interview with Bob Melvin

    Q. With today's news, what do you make of this trade, especially coming after also trading Donaldson last week?

            BOB MELVIN:  Well, it is what it is. We're looking to get a little bit younger, yet if you want to look back to the end of '11 and leading into '12, we traded our last three All‑Stars in Cahill, Bailey and Gonzalez and we ended up winning the division. We're looking to compete again. This isn't something where we're breaking it down and moving in a different direction. The players that we're getting back we like. There's always a balance here for us in that we have to look down the road. We lost quite a bit of talent the last couple of years making some trades. Billy is about as good as it gets as far as being able to handle that balance and keep us competitive currently yet also having to look down the road for the future.

            Q. What do you know about Joe Wendle, the kind of player that he is, and what to expect from him?

            BOB MELVIN:  I've seen in video, looks like a real tough at‑bat, line drive hitter, hangs in well against left‑handers, has put up some good numbers, a guy that our organization really likes and his name came up early in the offseason.

            So like I said, it's probably not a household name, but let's give him a little time.

            Q. How close to you see him to being ready?

            BOB MELVIN:  I'm not sure yet. I know he had an injury last year, too. So come into Spring Training with us, and you get a chance to compete and show what you have to offer. I've seen the numbers, the numbers look good the last couple of years, but we also have some guys currently here right now that are probably ahead of him. But you never know how things are going to shake out.

            Q. How confident are you that you're not done yet?

            BOB MELVIN:  Oh, I'm pretty confident. You look at how the offseason has gone, we signed Billy Butler, and we traded Josh Donaldson. And so it looks like we're going in one direction, then we go another. I think we have to wait until all is said and done, and wait to get to Spring Training to see what roster we have. I feel like it's going to be a competitive roster, and that's the way it's been since I got here the middle of 11.

            Q. Over the last five months you've traded the entire middle of your order. How tough is that for a manager?

            BOB MELVIN:  Yeah, those DMC T‑shirts, they'll probably be similar to the Cespedes ones after we traded him, on eBay, at a decent price. It's how we operate.

            You look at those three guys, Cespedes was an unknown when he came over. Donaldson was basically a Minor League catcher at one point in time, and Moss had some chances in other places, they weren't household names. They took advantage of the opportunity they had here and put themselves in that position, and we feel like the players we're getting back will be in the same situation those guys were in when they got here.

            Q. Looks like with A.J. and Jarrod you can get some rotation help. How do you feel about the state of the rotation before those guys come back, maybe things uncertain?

            BOB MELVIN:  Well, he's here right now. So those are pretty good three to start with, what we have. And then you have the Pomeranzes and Chavez, and we made some deals for some good arms in the Donaldson trade, too. You have these two guys coming look, whether it's halfway in the season or slightly before, depending on who is ahead of who, it's like making a mid season acquisition. You certainly have an eye on those guys coming back, because both those guys are terrific pitchers.

            Q. (INAUDIBLE)

            BOB MELVIN:  We'll see, yeah, we'll see how it all plays out. As we sit here right now, definitely.

            Q. I was told that Donaldson wasn't always amenable to making adjustments. Maybe not amenable is not the right way to put it, he was reluctant, there was some push backs, was there that something you experienced?

            BOB MELVIN:  Look, you know what? If it was a guy that didn't work as hard and understand his swing and know what he does well, you know, maybe that's an issue, but he's the type of guy that to get him to buy in you have to make a good argument for him. Especially when he gets to the Big Leagues and he's successful doing what he's doing.

            It wasn't a problem for us. But he's a strong minded kid and you see that in his style of play. You'll get degrees of that with just about anybody.

            Q. You lost your bench coach to the Diamondbacks. What can I tell my readers about Chip and your association with him?

            BOB MELVIN:  Well, they're going to love him. He's been there before, true Arizona guy. A very high energy, very prepared, this opportunity comes at the right time for him. I think it's the right place for him, too. He's got some great people to work under. He's been in the system before. It makes it a little easier for him, knowing a lot of the people there. He's known in Arizona. But he's very intense, like I said, and he's going to do a great job. The fans will love him.

            Q. Going into the offseason, everybody thought the priority was going to get a shortstop, are you expecting that that's still something that's going to happen, getting somebody from the outside or do you feel like your internal options are become more possible?

            BOB MELVIN:  I like our internal options, Andy has never had a legitimate chance to show what he can do short stop. Having said that it is a bit of a priority for us. And I wouldn't bet against, before we get to Spring Training that we do have some other options.

            Q. (INAUDIBLE) what stood out with his season with you, and where do you see him?

            BOB MELVIN:  He's one of the elite guys. Wants the ball. Great stuff on top of it, but really his competitiveness is really what rubbed off on us very quickly. He fit in with us, too. We have a bit of a different group. He likes to have a lot of fun in the clubhouse. A week into his time we felt like he'd been there for a while. There isn't a clubhouse or team that he wouldn't fit in well with and that was the case for us.

            Q. Brett Lawrie, what do you know about him so far, any idea where he might fit in?

            BOB MELVIN:  He's played third, and that's where we have him slotted. He has played some second base. But if you look at our roster right now, he's the guy we expect to play third base every day. Health is going to be the key with him. I know he's excited about getting off the turf and playing on grass. The turf can beat you up a little bit, especially when you play as hard as he does, and aspires to go out there every day. Our fans are going to love him. He's a blue collar guy. Plays hard, is always dirty, he's diving, he's the type of guy that our fan base will like right away.

            Q. Where do you see him in the order?

            BOB MELVIN:  I don't know yet. Right now we've lost some pieces in the order so we've got to see how it all plays out. A guy that we count on to be a two‑way player, and offensive guy. He can hit at the top, really anywhere in the lineup, but maybe the four spot. He gives you some versatility within the order.

            Q. I assume because of more low strikes, do you think your team maybe had too many low ball hitters, is there such a thing?

            BOB MELVIN:  We had a lot of left‑handed hitters, and typically they're predominantly more low ball hitters than righties. Maybe that had something to do with it. You can look at a guy like Moss or Reddick, those are true low ball hitters. But I think as much as anything being as many lefties as we had.

            Q. With Moss gone it seems like this would open up a good opportunity for Davis, what do you know about him and where he'll fit in?

            BOB MELVIN:  He was targeted for a reason. And we feel like he gives us a great option at first, not only defensively, but against right‑handed pitching. We'll probably at some point match up with him over there and get a right‑handed option. We have some in‑house options. Certainly Billy Butler will play some first base, too. But I know he's excited about getting this opportunity.

            Another guy that really is kind of a two‑way player, if you look at his defense metrics, too, he's a good defender over there. When you move around a couple of times and you really start to relish these opportunities and understand ‑‑ you're given an opportunity like this, you really want to take advantage of it. That's the way he's looking at it right now.

            Q. Moss had been playing more outfield, how do you see things now in terms of your outfield?

            BOB MELVIN:  Well, we have Coco and the Gentry and Fold and Reddick at this point. Stephen Vogt can play some outfield and we have other guys in the field. But as we sit here right now, those are the guys we're looking at in the big league roster.

            Q. You had a lot of mileage with the three catcher thing before the injury shut you down. Are you going to do that again or is that more difficult now?

            BOB MELVIN:  There's certainly an option as we sit here right now, with the potential of having all three of those guys back. When you look at it once we had some injuries, that really affected us, because production‑wise, certainly when we had Jaso and Norris, I think he was as productive in that position as anybody. And Stephen came a little later, unfortunately. And when John went down, Stephen couldn't catch because of issues with his foot. It puts us in a position to be able to have a couple of catchers and potentially a DH.

            Q. What's your level of concern with Jaso?

            BOB MELVIN:  I'm not a doctor. The doctors have cleared him. So really it's up to him, how tenacious he wants to go about the catching position. It did happen two years in a row, which gives you a little bit of trepidation. But if these ‑‑ Dr. Collins is clearing him, it means he feels he's ready to play the position.

            Q. You mentioned first base for Jaso a little bit. Do you see that as an option, could he fit into that mix possibly?

            BOB MELVIN:  The way we move things around, just because you start a game, doesn't mean that somebody else couldn't be there at the end of the game. He took some ground balls last year, some fly balls in the outfield, too. We were real careful with what kind of workload we were giving him physically toward the end, when we were trying to get him to take some ground balls and fly balls on other positions. He's a good athlete, wouldn't surprise me if he could.

            Q. Is there any update on how Coco is doing with his neck, will he be okay?

            BOB MELVIN:  Fully is relative when you have an issue like that. It's probably something you're cognizant of the rest of your career, especially with his age. But he was able to combat it. What they're saying the time it happened again this year, rest is really what he needed. And he wasn't able to do that. So certainly a full offseason would get him in a position where he'd be that much more towards 100 percent.

            Q. You guys have beaten the Royals and maybe gotten on a run a little bit, do you think the offseason might have looked like this anyway?

            BOB MELVIN: Those are hypotheticals. It's tough to forecast that. But I think the direction that we need to go, whether there's a window with a certain few guys, I don't think that ever changes here. So there's a good chance that we would make some changes. But a lot of times you make some changes, doesn't mean it's not a good thing, too.

            So, no, I don't think it would have affected it.

            Q. How long did it take you to get over the Wild Card or has that happened yet?

            BOB MELVIN:  I think that's probably a get playing in Spring Training type of thing, where you fully get over it. I don't know whether you can fully get over it, that was an intense and dramatic game that took a lot of twists and turns. Looked like we had it for a while and then had it again and then didn't. Those are awfully difficult to get over.

            Q. Earlier this week, Bob, I asked a couple of former managers how much influence they have on offseason movement. And I got very different answers. Where do you fit in? Do you have much say?

            BOB MELVIN:  I'm abreast of everything. Now, we have some really smart people here, and we do things a little bit differently here. Guys with IQs a little bit higher than mine. So I'm aware of everything. Sometimes the players we bring in I don't know as well, because I'm just dealing with the big league team. But I'm aware of everything that goes on here.

            Q. Before it happens?

            BOB MELVIN:  Correct.

            Q. And do you have any veto power?

            BOB MELVIN:  I have a say, I have a voice, definitely, yeah. But my job is to manage the players that we get here.

            Q. (INAUDIBLE)

            BOB MELVIN:  Unfortunately. I get the pleasure of doing that 18, 19 times a year.

            Q. How do you see the impact that he has on a team?

            BOB MELVIN:  He'd have that type of impact on any team. That's how good he is. I think it helps that they have Albert Pujols hitting behind him, where you can't pitch around him. He can steal second and third on you, but he has had a big influence on that team. And you can see the more comfortable he gets at the big league level and the more stature he has there, he's a guy they're going to lean on, to this point now a veteran guy that has quite a bit of say over there, mixed with a with the Pujols' and veterans they have. I think regardless of who he is in the clubhouse or whatever, his performance speaks for itself. And he's one of the elite players in the game.

            Q. What is your impression of some of the things that have been happening in the division. Houston is making some moves, things like that?

            BOB MELVIN:  I talk about this every year, about the influx into our division, Seattle, last year with Cano, and looking like adding a couple more pieces, their young pitching. Houston has got terrific talent. From the year before to last year was a big difference. And they're a team to be reckoned with. And then you look at Texas and Anaheim, very good clubs. They're going to be healthy. Now Texas, again, too. So our division seems like it gets better every year.