It Is A Make-Or-Break Year For Padres Manager Bud Black


With A.J. Preller’s acquisitions of outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers along with trades for All-Star catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks, the Padres ownership has gone all-in to compete with the defending champion San Francisco Giants and rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

As the Kansas City Royals proved last season as a Wild Card team, anything can happen in the postseason. The addition of the second wild card in each league has made baseball even more exciting come September. The days of a team having to win 100-plus games in a season to reach the playoffs is not as prevalent as in decades past, and as a result, the Padres have become instant contenders along with the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins in the National League. [related category]

Hence, this is why it becomes a make or break year for Padres’ manager Bud Black to contend. There is no arguing Black has been given the lack of talent or superstar players to compete alongside the rest of the powerhouses each season, so this is why it becomes a make-or-break year for the skipper.

In retrospect, former GM’s Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes stockpiled the talent with prospects instead of adding the one offensive superstar that could increase run production in a lineup that had one of the worst offenses in the modern era in 2014.

The Padres have averaged only around 75 wins since their last winning season of 90 in 2010 when Adrian Gonzalez carried the team to the final day of the season before losing to the Giants.

However, there are no excuses for Black this year. He has proven time-and-time again with pitching coach Darren Balsley that they will have a strong rotation.  Preller has managed to bring to San Diego instant offense without having to give up Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, or Andrew Cashner. Even though, the Padres offense was putrid, they still managed to win 77 games last season and posted the best record at home since the 1984 Padres club.

The addition of Kemp and Upton should produce no less than 20 more wins next season, and anything short of a 90-95 win season for the Padres should be deemed a failure. Black will have some challenges to face early on, with the lack of a lead-off hitter and speed on the bases, but there is no excuses with the projected lineup.

Last season, the lack of consistency and set-everyday lineup showed Black to be more desperate to find anything that resembled an offense. Padres’ fans will see his true managerial skills this season and get an already feared Padres lineup with Upton and Kemp being the three and four hitters to manufacture runs. The question will remain whether or not he can get Myers to resemble the player he was in his rookie season.

There are no-excuses in 2015 for Black. Preller has given fans and the club instant offensive talent. Can Black deliver as manager the same way that Joe Maddon and Mike Matheny have for their clubs? It will be interesting to see, but if the Padres fail to break 90 wins, they should look elsewhere for a new manager in 2016.