Reds outfielder Derek Dietrich has absolutely crushed the Pirates this year, hitting seven home runs in nine games against them. Some of them have been absolute moon shoots and Dietrich has admired a few of them, flipped his bat and that sort of thing. One of those stand-and-stare jobs provoked a benches-clearing brawl earlier this season.
As I mentioned in the recaps the other day, the Pirates broadcast booth has been salty as all get-out about Dietrich, openly whining about him on the air. You see that from time to time. Buccos broadcaster John Wehner, however, is so disgusted with Dietrich that he’s, in my view anyway, crossed a major line in his criticism.
As Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, Wehner was on Pittsburgh radio the other morning and ripped Dietrich. See if you can spot the part that I think crossed the line:
“I can’t stand him . . . I just don’t see why – I don’t understand why you have to do that. It’s different if you’re a Hall of Fame player, you’re a 60-homer guy, you’re an established guy. Nobody ever heard of him before this year . . . I heard of him because of his grandfather (Steve Demeter) who used to be a minor league coach for the Pirates. He was the nicest, sweetest guy in the world. He’s rolling in his grave every time this guy hits a home run. He’s embarrassed of his grandson.”
I guess he could’ve done worse and said a bunch of stuff about Dietrich’s mom, but I feel like projecting your own crappy attitude on to a guy’s dead grandfather is sufficiently bad to be considered out of bounds.
But yeah, Wehner sounds lovely.
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.