By giving manager Andy Green an extension through 2021, the San Diego Padres sent a message that the front office trusts him to lead the team to a playoff berth during that time frame.
Without an extension, Green would have been left in the unenviable position of being a lame duck next year. In his second year as a big league manager, Green has shown promise, but he has also made some questionable decisions along the way.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune: “We think he’s the right guy with us for a young team. We think he’s a solid teacher – not just baseball but teach these guys about being a solid human being and a good citizen.”
When Green was hired in November of 2015, he had a reputation for being open to new ideas and including advanced metrics in his decisions. As the third-base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015, he increased the number of defensive shifts dramatically. That reportedly helped the D-Backs lead baseball in defensive runs saved (71) that year. However defensive shifts did not dramatically improve the Padres defense this year, which ranked second to last in fielding percentage in all of baseball.
At the start of the season, just about everyone outside of the Padres’ front office assumed the team had dedicated itself to high draft picks through lousy baseball (aka tanking), and many pundits predicted a 100-loss season. However, the record of 71-91 puts the team in line for the seventh pick in the 2018 amateur draft.
Obviously, the young team overachieved, and Green must get at least partial credit for fostering a competitive environment. He also has a refreshing way of taking responsibility for his decisions and for communicating with reporters as well as players.
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In fact, once he starts talking he has a hard time turning off the spigot. One of the major targets of his verbalizing has been first baseman, Wil Myers. Unfortunately, Green has not succeeded in changing Myers’ tendency to lollygag his way down the line in admiration of balls that don’t go out. Although Myers has promised repeatedly to work on this tendency, the lack of results should have led Green to take more drastic action like sitting him the next day or even pulling him from the game.
Surprisingly, especially in light of the Padres’ push for Latin American talent, Green does not number among MLB’s bilingual managers. In contrast, general manager A.J. Preller made it a point to learn Spanish.
In an article for ESPN Deportes (“MLB managers learn Spanish to unite teams and clubhouses”), Hirman Martinez quoted Mike Matheny, the Cardinal’s bilingual manager, on the value of speaking Spanish: “It’s important because the players understand that I respect their language and culture.”
Despite his shortcomings, Andy Green generally receives kudos for leading the Padres to a better season than even the most optimistic pundits imagined. In fact, in an article for CBS Sports R.J. Anderson concluded, “Based on his eagerness to mix up things, it’s possible he finds himself on the Joe Maddon arc – dismissed as quirky until he wins, then revered as a managerial savant.”