Padres likely looking for sizzle in successor to Bud Black

BY Ken Rosenthal • June 15, 2015

So, what if the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson had not made that amazing catch on a potential game-winning hit by the Padres’ Justin Upton with two on and two outs in the ninth on Sunday?

Would a dramatic victory and series triumph over the rival Dodgers have mattered to the Padres’ itchy ownership? Or would they have just gone ahead and fired Bud Black as manager anyway?

At this moment, there is no way to know.

But when the Padres finally fired Black on Monday – and I say finally, because the team had discussed his dismissal as far back as last season – it was not exactly a shock.

As I wrote on May 18, “A change in San Diego would surprise no one. Ownership, after investing a club-record $109 million in the Opening Day payroll, is itchy. A.J. Preller, the new GM, is in his first full season. It’s a classic fire-the-manager formula, and the Padres are complying by stumbling to a 19-20 start.”

Well, the Padres are now 32-33. And Black is gone.

The Padres named Dave Roberts their manager as they begin their search for an interim manager – that’s right, Roberts is the interim for an interim, which is a bit, uh, unusual.

Me, I can’t wait to see Black get another chance and possibly turn into another Bruce Bochy – you know, the last guy the Pads parted with, albeit under different owners.

OK, the Pads’ pitching has regressed – the team is eighth in the National League in ERA, 10th in rotation ERA. But c’mon, just last year the staff was second in the NL under Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley.

As I wrote back in May, the entire industry knew the Padres’ roster was flawed – the lineup was too right-handed, the outfield defense was questionable, etc. The team’s prized acquisition, right fielder Matt Kemp, is batting .249 with a .629 OPS.

No interim manager can correct the Pads’ inherent deficiencies. But the team’s ownership is known to like sizzle, and surely covets a big name – if not sooner, then later. 

Hitting coach Mark Kotsay is a logical in-house candidate, but if he was going to be the guy, wouldn’t the Padres have named him already? Ditto for Moises Alou and Mark Loretta, who also work in the organization.

I’d love to see the Padres try to hire Diamondbacks Triple-A manager Phil Nevin when they balked at allowing their own Triple-A manager, Pat Murphy, to join the Brewers as a major-league coach last month.

Murphy is a candidate to be the interim manager – or, at least, part of a reconfigured coaching staff. But at some point, the Pads figure to reach for the stars, especially if they fail to reach for the postseason.

Ron Washington worked with Preller in Texas. Jason Varitek’s name surfaced when the Padres were looking for a GM last season. Dusty Baker, Ron Gardenhire, even Ozzie Guillen . . . anything would seem possible.

Preller and his owners want their own toy.

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