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.
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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.