Let’s get this out of the way: The Padres aren’t firing Bud Black.
First, they (unnecessarily) exercised the club options on his contract for 2014 and 2015. He’s safe through at least this season. You’re excited, I can tell. Second, there’s no obvious replacement already on the coaching staff. Third, that’s baseball.
With that said, let’s have some fun with hypotheticals.
Let’s say the Padres get off to a bad start. I don’t mean just a terrible record (we’ve seen that), I’m talking shit body language and players openly questioning Bud’s leadership. Everybody loves Bud, so the latter may be a stretch*.
* It’s a hypothetical – let’s get crazy!
We know the Padres want to win. They need to be in pennant race, as Josh Byrnes has already told Darren Smith. The fans are pissed (surprise!) and all the blue is beginning to cause blindness. Ron Fowler’s also pissed. He’s trying to run a business here, and he can’t run his best player out of town if the team has another losing record. This is his club and he has to send a message that losing won’t be tolerated. He orders Byrnes to fire Buddy.
So, in case this scenario does play out, who would be the best choice to replace Bud? I’m glad you asked! Now, we’re assuming the Padres aren’t going to go outside the organization (see: Buck Showalter) for their new manager. It’ll almost certainly be one of the coaches already on staff. Let’s take a look at the candidates, in no particular order:
• Darren Balsley- Pitching coach
He has no experience being a major league manager (this will be a common theme). He’s been the pitching coach since 2004. Pitchers swear by him, and you can’t hold a pitching coach job if you’re not doing something right. I think he’d be the first choice, that is assuming he doesn’t voluntarily follow Buddy out the door.
• Glenn Hoffman– 3B Coach
Did you know his brother is Trevor Hoffman? Cray, right? Hoffman’s been the 3b coach for eight years here. Before that he managed in the minors with the Dodgers as well as 88 games for the big club in 1998. He’s been a coach for a long time, but like all the guys on this list, we don’t know how he’d handle the role.
• Phil Plantier/Alonzo Powell– Hitting Instructors
Pass. Let them keep working with the young guys. Neither has much experience managing in the minors. They’d be set up to fail if either were promoted.
• Jose Valentin– 1B coach
He managed Single-A Fort Wayne for two seasons. He has a great mustache and this will be his first season as a major league coach.
• Willie Blair– Bullpen coach
How many managers are former bullpen coaches? Sorry, Willie.
• Dave Roberts– Bench coach
Man, I’d love to see this. He sounds like the smartest dude in the room whenever he speaks. I think he’s gonna be a great manger one day. This will only be his third season as a major league coach, though, and I doubt Byrnes would put him in that situation.
Under this hypothetical scenario, who do you foresee as a mid-season replacement for Bud Black?
I contribute when I contribute. Other thoughts on things that I think about can be found here. That’s a terrible “outro”. I’ll try to work on it.