Hands off Melvin, Oak­land tells Yanks

San Francisco Chronicle - - BASEBALL - By John Shea John Shea is The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle’s na­tional base­ball writer.

OR­LANDO — The Yan­kees wanted to in­ter­view Bob Melvin for their va­cant man­ager’s job, and the A’s re­fused to grant per­mis­sion.

Gen­eral man­ager David Forst said Mon­day that the A’s are com­mit­ted to Melvin, call­ing him “ab­so­lutely the right guy” to over­see the de­vel­op­ment of a young team that fin­ished in last place again but won 17 of its final 24 games and had more wins in Septem­ber than in any other month since 2014.

Melvin re­ceived a one-year ex­ten­sion in Septem­ber and is signed through 2019. The Yan­kees are seek­ing a re­place­ment for Joe Gi­rardi, who was fired af­ter New York lost a se­v­engame Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Series to Hous­ton.

On the first day of the GM meet­ings in Or­lando, Forst said the pri­or­ity is beef­ing up the bullpen and find­ing a righthanded-hit­ting cor­ner out­fielder. The A’s like the young nu­cleus of their lineup and ro­ta­tion.

At last year’s GM meet­ings, the A’s tried fill­ing out their lineup with out­side older play­ers, and they set­tled on Matt Joyce, Ra­jai Davis and Trevor Plouffe. Now it’s much dif­fer­ent af­ter sev­eral young play­ers, in­clud­ing Matt Chap­man and Matt Olson, flour­ished with reg­u­lar play­ing time.

“You know the guys who need op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Forst said. “You don’t want to block cer­tain guys. This time last year, we knew we had holes that were go­ing to be filled by free agents. Be­cause of the progress of our po­si­tion play­ers, we’re not in that sit­u­a­tion.”

Though the A’s are open to adding an ex­pe­ri­enced starter to their young ro­ta­tion, “it’s not a pri­or­ity for us,” Forst said. It’s all about up­grad­ing a bullpen that lost Sean Doolittle and Ryan Mad­son in a July trade with Wash­ing­ton.

“If you’re go­ing to have the young start­ing staff and ask a lot of them, you want to be able to sup­port them when they give you a lead,” Forst said.

The A’s could add needed ros­ter parts by trad­ing Ryon Healy, a power-hit­ting cor­ner in­fielder and des­ig­nated hit­ter, but Forst wouldn’t bite when a re­porter asked whether Healy is the odd man out now that Chap­man and Olson are man­ning the cor­ners.

“He’s part of our depth,” Forst said. “We’d like to talk about Khris (Davis) in the DH spot oc­ca­sion­ally. Look, Ryon can hit in the mid­dle of a lot of line­ups, so I’d never char­ac­ter­ize him as an odd man out. We’d need to con­sider a lot of av­enues if we’re go­ing to add pitch­ing.”

News of the Yan­kees’ quest to in­ter­view Melvin first was re­ported by the Ath­letic.

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