On Sunday, June 22 the San Diego Padres fired Josh Byrnes, their general manager and vice president of baseball operations for three and a half seasons.
Byrnes seemed liked the right man for the job after a GM stint with National League West rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks, even though he was also fired from that job as well.
Byrnes was supposed to be the man that would turn around a Padres organization that hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2005 when they won the NL West crown. However, the Padres felt it was time to relieve Byrnes of his duties after the team posted a 255-306 record in three plus seasons he was part of in the front office.
Now, with San Diego firing their GM, it begs the question: how safe is manager Bud Black’s job?
According to Padres President and CEO Mike Dee, it’s safe until the team finds another General Manager -- which might take some time. "Buddy's job is safe until our new GM is in place and hires his guy. But that's just me,” said Dee.
From the sound of it, it seems like Dee isn't exactly sure of what the future holds for Black, it all depends on what the new GM makes of it.
The facts are simple when it comes to keeping Bud Black in the Padres dugout every game or (like Byrnes) moving on and hoping for something better. As the manager, Black has put together a 568-630 overall record (which is a .474 winning percentage over the past seven-plus seasons).
His successful campaigns came in 2007 and 2010, when the Padres went 89-74 and 90-72 in those seasons, respectively.
The team came just short in making a postseason appearance both seasons. Still, there are no playoff appearances for Bud and San Diego to add to his managerial resume. Take note that these numbers come from a free-for-all NL West that is known for being a do-or-die division and not one that can muster a wild card berth.
With Major League Baseball adopting two wild card berths for each league, it seems to be harder to get out of the West when not division champions.
Posting an under-.500 record this season and battling the D-Backs for avoidance of last place woes, the Padres don’t look like a team that will make a playoff run.
Black is a coach that is purely all about pitching and with the cliché of pitching wins championships, his pitching staff would take that all the way to the World Series. The numbers don’t lie - Black is a better coach at pitching than hitting.
The Padres pitching staff this season has posted a 3.40 overall ERA, which makes for seventh-best in all of MLB. In the eight seasons as manager, Black’s pitching staff has averaged a 3.85 ERA overall.
The offense for San Diego, however, isn’t as impressive. Padres hitting in Black’s stint managed to crack .250 or higher twice (Bud’s first two seasons at the helm) and overall hit a .242 average. In 2014, the team is hitting a measly .214, which as of now is worst in the majors. That is 31 points down from what they were at last season (.245 team average in 2013).
If the offense isn’t clicking, it won’t have enough to back up the pitching staff. This is exactly what the Padres have become these past few years.
So what should be done with Bud Black in San Diego? Plain and simple: make him either a pitching coach and bring in someone new to manage the team OR promote him as general manager.
He has been known to have a positive philosophical impact on many players and coaches in the past so keeping him around is a definite.
Only time will tell and we'll have to wait and see when the Padres eventually make a decision on Bud’s future in San Diego.