Getty Images

The Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2016 — Full Countdown

8 Comments

Over the past few days we’ve counted down the Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2016. In case you missed a few entries, here they all are:

1. The Chicago Cubs break the curse and win it all
2. Jose Fernandez killed in a boating accident
3. Vin Scully calls his final game
4. David Ortiz’s historic farewell season
5. Alex Rodriguez’s career comes to an end. Probably.
6. Ken Griffey Jr. gets a record 99.3% of the Hall of Fame vote
7. Baseball gets a new Collective Bargaining Agreement
8. The Year of the Reliever 
9. Bryce Harper ties to Make Baseball Fun Again
10. Aroldis Chapman gets baseball’s first domestic violence suspension 
11. The Drake LaRoche Sage tears the White Sox apart
12. Tim Tebow plays baseball
13. Ichiro becomes the All-Time Hit King
14. Bartolo Colon hits a homer
15. The Jose Bautista-Rougned Odor fight
16. Bud Selig gets elected to the Hall of Fame
17. Yoenis Cespedes shows off his wheels
18. MLB adopts “The Chase Utley Rule” 
19. Jenrry Mejia permanently banned for third positive PED test
20. The lifespan of a ballpark gets shorter
21. Chris Sale freaks out, shreds White Sox throwback jerseys
22. Trevor Story and Gary Sanchez make big rookie splashes
23. A.J. Preller suspended for hiding medical information
24. Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman sue Al-Jazeera
25. Curt Schilling fired from ESPN

I hope you enjoyed these. Thanks so much for making HardballTalk and NBC Sports part of your daily routine over the past year. Here’s hoping 2017 is good to you and yours.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
Getty Images
13 Comments

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.