When a team in any sport performs well above expectations, the coach/manager typically gets some job security. The 2010 Padres, picked by most to finish last in the NL West, have surprised anyone by being one of the best teams in baseball, and thus, manager Bud Black has had his contract extended three years. His contract will now run through 2013, with team options through 2015.
Now, being on the statistical side of analysis, I’m certainly from the school that thinks that managers/coaches are somewhat overrated and interchangeable. I don’t think Bud Black is the reason the Padres may win 20-30 more games than most thought they would.
That said, the Padres certainly are overachieving, and it’s difficult to find too many gripes with Black’s decisionmaking. He doesn’t have ill-placed trust in poor players and doesn’t underuse valuable players. His handling of Chris Denorfia and Aaron Cunningham has been great, he realized the importance of platooning Will Venable, and he’s done a great job with the pitching staff. You have to wonder if Black, the only former pitcher who’s currently an MLB manager, has had a hand in turning seemingly mediocre arms like Clayton Richard and Wade LeBlanc into effective starters. You also never hear about Padres clubhouse issues, so to what extent we can know how the clubhouse atmosphere is, we can figure Black’s managing it well.
Whatever way you look at it, Bud Black’s done a very good job in San Diego, and he deserves his extension.