GLENDALE, Ariz. — Camelback Ranch, spring training home of the Dodgers and White Sox, is a seriously beautiful facility.
The only drawback to it is that it faces south-southeast, so the crowd just bakes in the sun. Not sure why that is. I have to assume there was some reason for it, but sheesh, it’s brutal here. Especially if you’re a pasty mother like I am. The press box is no good place to watch a game, but it’s sort of necessary for me here.
Yasiel Puig and Erisbel Arruebarrena. As Tommy Lasorda famously said, Muy dificil.
Just before Don Mattingly came out for his daily meet-the-press, the assembled Los Angeles press was talking about how there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot to ask him. This Dodgers camp is pretty quiet. The Andre Ethier situation is a bit up in the air, but there are no real position battles. No injuries of note since Jansen. We’ve entered the daily grind portion of spring training. The excitement of the new is over but we’re still weeks away from hard decisions (if any) and games with any significance. There’s a lot of talk of golf and restaurants and stuff.
A couple of legends just hanging around and talking shop. Tommy Lasorda has become something of a mascot. In public there’s a lot of Dodgers cheerleading and smiling and waving and stuff. But — not that I was eavesdropping or anything — he is still quite capable of delivering a blue streak of colorful language when telling a baseball story from, like, 40 years ago, and I’m happy about that.
Of course, he can also be pretty horrifying in just the right setting. OMG, that’s nightmare fuel.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.