So much for finishing the season at .500. That went out the window last night in a heart-breaking loss to the Colorado Rockies. It’s been a great final 10 days or so for the Padres however. They had a 5-game winning streak, got within striking distance of the .500 mark, determined that the future was more important than the present, and shut down Tyson Ross to let his tired elbow get the extra rest is could use. Andrew Cashner was named NL Player of the Week for tossing a pair of gems, and last, but certainly not least, the organization announced that manager Bud Black would return to the Padres in 2015.
There have been many articles about how Black should be ousted, just as his former general manager, Josh Byrnes was. Hell, I even went into great details just prior to the Byrnes dismissal, that both men should’ve been shown the door. I’m still not sold on Black, as he’s still steering a rudderless ship in San Diego. Perhaps it’s the talent on the field, maybe it’s some of his questionable moves, never giving a guy a chance to remain in the lineup everyday to work through his issues, or maybe it’s a combination of both. With rumors of Jason Varitek being an intriguing option to replace Black, A.J. Preller put those fears to rest. That could be viewed as a positive sign heading into the off-season.
The real question now should be, given the poor offensive production from this Padres’ team, one that is historically one of the worst in the past half century, and the Padres still able to finish only one game under the .500 mark, should Bud Black get consideration and votes for National League Manager of the Year? Matt Williams in Washington had a loaded team coming in. Clint Hurdle has always been one of my favorites, and has led the Pirates to back-to-back postseason appearances, and of course, Don Mattingly has handled the hatred of his own fan base and continuing doubts of his ownership group to lead the Dodgers to one of the best records in NL.
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It’s the old argument that the teams that make the playoffs should enjoy the spoils. Can you have a Cy Young winner or league MVP from a non-contending team? Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke have been two examples of aces from putrid teams that got the nod. Over 25 years ago, Andre Dawson was awarded the NL MVP for the last place Cubs. Why shouldn’t Black, who by all accounts, has done as good a job as possible, with injuries and inconsistent play, to keep his team near the .500 mark is nothing short of amazing.
The Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Both the rotation and bullpen could go toe-to-toe with ANY franchise, contender or not. If Tyson Ross had received ANY consistent run support, he’s being mentioned for the Cy Young this season, and the Padres are contending for a Wild Card berth. Bud Black has something to do with the development of his pitching staff. While normally I’m against giving out awards to mediocre team performances, this is the one exception where I believe if Clint Hurdle isn’t the NL Manager of the Year, then Bud Black of the Padres is.