The San Diego Padres have a long ways to go before they can be considered legitimate contenders. But if nothing else, they at least have the right manager to lead them where they want to go.
When Andy Green took over as manager of the San Diego Padres at the beginning of the 2016 season, he basically replaced three managers. Bud Black, Dave Roberts and Pat Murphy managed the team in quick succession during a tumultuous period in mid-June of the previous year.
Black took the fall for the Padres’ disastrous attempt to create a championship out of expensive spare parts. Since someone needed to make up the starting lineup, Roberts, took over for a day. Then General Manager A.J. Preller made the surprising announcement that Pat Murphy would replace Roberts.
Preller chose not to interview Roberts who ended up as National League manager of the year after taking the injury-riddled L.A. Dodgers to within two games of the World Series. In the meantime, the Padres didn’t catch lightning in a bottle with Murphy, and the Padres replaced him with Andy Green, a relative unknown.
Green had the unenviable task of trying to get players with big salaries and bigger egos (Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton to be specific) to follow a newbie. In contrast, the team Green will lead in 2017 will be characterized by youth and should prove to be far more malleable. And Green may well prove to be the right guy in the right place at the right time.
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Although he has impressive academic credentials (having graduated from the University of Kentucky Summa Cum Laude in finance), he’s also one of those baseball junkies who hung around despite sparse playing time in the big leagues over four seasons. As a player he did not distinguish himself in Japan either.
But, in the Diamondbacks organization, he became the first to ever win manager of the year two years in a row in the Southern League. Green gets high praise for his skill set from the likes of A.J. Ellis (former Dodgers’ catcher who is now with the Marlins) and Tony LaRussa (well known baseball manager and executive).
Listen to any interview with Green, and you will come away impressed by his passion, intellectual curiosity, openness to competing ideas and knowledge of the game. He should prove to be the perfect choice to lead the current bunch of players in their 20s through the inevitable losing season next year and into a more promising future.