The day after the Padres announced the signing of A.J. Preller as new general manager, Ken Rosenthal published an interview with Padres CEO Mike Dee. In the interview, Rosenthal touched on Preller’s role within the Padres organization and expectations for Bud Black’s working relationship under A.J. Preller.
Two things struck me:
1. Not bullshit: Mike Dee’s sweet nothings
2. Bullshit: what Mike Dee looks for in a manager
Mike Dee’s sweet nothings
I think it’s safe to say that Mike Dee speaks in platitudes. I’m not sure if this is because he’s less articulate or less understanding about baseball operations than his recent predecessors – Tom Garfinkel and Sandy Alderson were both fluent in technical baseball jargon – or because he’s trying to be as descriptive as possible without promising a thing. Whatever the reason, intentional or unintentional, it’s hard to glean anything from what he has said to-date.
For the most part, this interview reads the same way. For example, his quote on whether or not Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy will return in 2015 is about as white noise as they come:
But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if both those guys were part not just for the rest of this year, but 2015 as well.
Oh really, Mike? You wouldn’t be surprised if two players currently on the team and under contract for 2015 actually end up on the 2015 Padres? What insight.
None of that is really bullshit, though. I absolutely prefer no promises over empty ones, and platitudes over falsehoods. Meaningless dribble is better than downright lies – which are bullshit, in the meaning of the word.
What was bullshit in this article, however, was what Mike Dee said regarding Bud Black and why he’s still around.
Mike Dee on Bud Black
Basically, Ken Rosenthal was trying to learn if Preller will affect whether or not the Padres keep Bud Black around. Mike Dee responded in his typical platitudes – see above – before launching into what appears to be a concrete reason why Bud Black hasn’t been fired yet:
I, for one, have never been a fan, unless dire circumstances exist where a guy loses a team or if there is chaos in the clubhouse, which was clearly not the case here. Buddy’s leadership qualities were as good as they were before the season started. He had his finger on the pulse of what was going on. We just weren’t hitting. He was trying different combinations, different things, roster changes. Nothing seemed to be working.
What?!? The only way you’ll fire a manager is if the manager “loses a team” / there’s a clubhouse issue? What about, umm, I don’t know…managing? You know, that thing that’s his freaking job title!
And has it ever occurred to the Padres that perhaps Bud Black’s constant tinkering with the everyday lineup, sporadic platoon rotations, lack of commitment towards consistently playing their more promising young players, etc. could be a contributing factor to the Padres not hitting in 2014?
Let alone more concrete managerial blunders, like his five first inning sacrifice bunts in April 2013 alone? (If you’re sac-bunting with your #2 hitter, you’ve set your lineup wrong. Nevermind that sacrifice bunts are generally losing propositions anyway.)
And why in the world would you broadcast that you’d only fire a manager for clubhouse issues, instead of keeping the pressure on Buddy to succeed on the field?
My favorite line of the whole thing is this, though:
We have a lot of confidence in Buddy, think he has been a great leader here.
Yeah, just fantastic. I’m not sure what part of his tenure has been the greatest: the 8 straight postseason-less seasons, the ten game losing streak in 2010, the loss in game 163, the Milton Bradley thing (however unintentional), the fact that every other team in the NL West has made the playoffs and won a playoff series since we got Bud Black, or all one million “that’s baseball” quotes that pollute your Twitter feed. What a great portfolio.
If all you want as manager of your ball club is a “leader”, may I suggest a trek up to the nose-bleeds next weekend home-stand? You know, where you stick the marines on military Sundays. Seriously: if you want a leader and disciplinarian, where’s a better place to look than that?