Bud Black hasn’t managed the Padres to a winning record since 2010 and the team is off to a 21-27 start this season, leading to speculation that he may not be long for the job.
San Diego Union Tribune columnist Kevin Acee writes that he’s “getting the distinct impression” Black’s job is in jeopardy, noting that the Padres’ upper management is “steamed at all the losing” after raising payroll significantly.
This would be the Padres’ seventh straight season without a playoff appearance under Black, who has a 561-622 record and .474 winning percentage overall. Acee makes it clear that he’s just speculating rather than reporting an imminent firing, but he obviously believes at the very least Black won’t last another season unless there’s a dramatic turnaround soon.
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.