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.

 

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.