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Melvin confirms he'll return as manager of Padres

Bob Melvin Bob Melvin - The Canadian Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Bob Melvin confirmed Thursday that he will be back as manager of the San Diego Padres, adding that he's "looking forward to having a much better year than we had this year.”

General manager A.J. Preller announced Wednesday that Melvin would be back under the final season of his contract following the most disappointing year in franchise history. But Melvin was in the process of moving his offseason home and wasn't available for comment then.

“Obviously, we had a really tough year and nobody feels good about that,” Melvin told The Associated Press by phone. “We'd certainly like to have a year more like the year before in ‘22 than in ’23 and continue to appreciate the support that I get from our owner, Peter Seidler, as well as our major league staff. We'll be looking forward to getting back to spring training and getting at it.”

The Padres went from reaching the NL Championship Series last fall to missing the playoffs this year at 82-80. While they were mathematically alive until last Friday night, they hadn't been above .500 since early May and underperformed almost all season despite having a star-laden lineup and a payroll of around $258 million on opening day, the third-highest in baseball.

Melvin's return comes amid published reports that he and Preller's relationship had become irreparable.

“Those are anonymous reports so we’re fine and we’re moving forward and we’re both excited about it," Melvin said.

Asked if there were issues that needed to be cleared up, he said: “Look, during the course of the season you talk about a lot of things in those meetings and nobody agrees on everything and I think that's healthy. That's about as far as I'll go with it.”

Melvin and Preller participated in organizational meetings on Monday. "As we do, you go home and you process things and you think about more things that you can do to try to get past what we thought the deficiencies were and how to make it better," Melvin said.

Melvin has guided the Padres to the only two winning records in a full season under Preller and their first NLCS appearance since 1998.

Melvin finished his second season with San Diego and 20th overall as a major league manager. He's been voted Manager of the Year three times, including in both leagues. He is 1,517-1,425 overall with three teams, with eight postseason appearances.

Preller declined comment when asked Wednesday if there had been contract extension talks with Melvin.