Bud Black fired by the Padres

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The San Diego Padres have announced that they have fired manager Bud Black.

Black managed the Padres for nine seasons and had an overall record is 649-713. His tenure lasted as long as it did despite a losing record because he was well-respected and well-trusted by so many people in the game. After all, you usually don’t survive as a manager when team ownership changes or when general managers come and go. Yet Black remained through multiple administrations in San Diego.

Yet this year was different. This year there were much higher expectations than before. The Padres and their new general manager A.J. Preller spent big this offseason and made multiple splash deals including trading for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Will Myers and Craig Kimbrel and in signing James Shields to a free agent deal. With many expecting the Padres to contend in the NL West or at least contend for a wild card, they’re currently at 32-33 which puts them in third place, six games behind the Dodgers.

Dave Roberts, formerly the Padres’ bench coach, will take over as manager for the time being. He is not being called an interim manager, as the team may actually hire a separate interim manager pending a longer search for a permanent replacement for Black. Roberts just happens to be on hand and can cover.

Roberts sparked a big comeback once upon a time. Padres fans are hoping he can do it again.

 

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?