Black is the fall guy in San Diego
Manager is fired after Padres get off to slow start despite ambitious off-season moves.
The club president took over two years ago. The general manager took over last year. The team blew up its payroll and its minor league system last off-season, in an effort to win now.
So, with the San Diego Padres under .500, who got the blame Monday? Not the president, not the GM and not the players. The Padres fired Manager Bud Black, whose status had been tenuous ever since the team hired A.J. Preller as GM last summer.
The Padres issued a three-sentence statement Monday that made the change appear rushed rather than well-planned. The Padres said bench coach Dave Roberts would manage the team starting Monday night, with an immediate search starting “for an interim manager for the remainder of the 2015 season.”
If the Padres hire another manager in 2016, that would be four managers in less than a year.
The Padres are expected to consider their triple-A manager, Pat Murphy, formerly the coach at Arizona State. The Milwaukee Brewers asked permission to hire Murphy for their major league coaching staff; the Padres refused, even though permissions for promotions in the industry are granted routinely.
This was Black’s ninth season as Padres manager. The Padres have had two winning records in that time, with no playoff appearances.
Of the three former Mike Scioscia coaches who started the season as managers, two have been fired — Black, and Ron Roenicke of the Brewers. Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs is the other.
Before Monday, the Pa- dres were 32-33 and six games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. The Padres have played four series against the Dodgers this year, most recently over the weekend, and lost two of three games each time.
The Padres are tied with the Dodgers for second in the league in runs but rank eighth in earned-run average, despite playing in pitcher-friendly Petco Park and despite off-season moves that focused on improving the offense.
The players imported last off-season include outfielders Justin Upton (13 home runs, .857 OPS), Matt Kemp (two home runs, .629 OPS) and Wil Myers (five home runs, .787 OPS), catcher Derek Norris (seven home runs, .756 OPS), third baseman Will Middlebrooks (eight home runs, .648 OPS), starter James Shields (7-0, 3.59 ERA) and closer Craig Kimbrel (16 of 17 in save opportunities, 3.60 ERA).