Now set your time dial up a few months and you see that there are some winds of change in the air. The Padres let their long time and successful manager interview for other jobs and even encourage him in some (not so subtle) ways.
The Padres make statements like they want to a manager who can lead them into the future and who can keep them in the playoffs for years to come. Um, I thought Bochy did a pretty good job for the last two years and for all the years when the Padres would claim that they were either ‘rebuilding' or ‘have a chance' when we all knew it was more of the ‘rebuilding' years (i.e. didn't want to spend any money).
I will give credit though that the Padres have done a great job over the last few years bringing up some great players through the system and have made some pretty great trades.
I'm confused though that they make statements about wanting a manager who will continue to get them into the playoffs yet they had one already under contract. Bochy was by all accounts respected by players and other managers and teams (just look where he ended up). I'm not saying Black won't be great but aren't the statements from the Padres kind of hypocritical?
I understand that the new management wants to bring in their own people but have the courage to just state that publicly. I'm sure the Padres will save some money by hiring a manager with no management experience but what does that mean if the Padres don't get into the playoffs next year?
Have they done a cost analysis and return-on-investment if they don't make the playoffs or how much money they might lose in attendance with a mediocre team?
If you believe the adage that pitching can make or break a team, the Padres are loading up on pitchers but unless the Padres can backfill some of the lost RBI's, range and middle infield with someone else, I'm not sure all the trades will pay off.
The Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins for Royce Ring and Heath Bell seems to fill some needs the Padres had; the need for some left-handed help out of the bullpen. Trading Josh Barfield for Kevin Kouzmanoff doesn't sit well with me but I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, but it sounds like another case of sacrificing known talent for a minor league player with some large question marks. I personally would stay with the known quantity of Barfield. Look at the Padres history of trying to fill 3rd base, if that's even where he'll play. He's been playing 1st base in the winter league and do you think the Padres would trade Gonzalez to make room at 1st? Not very impressive and why do we think this will be any better? I'm willing to give Kevin Towers credit, though, he's done well with other players out of the minors but keeping them here is also important now that they've fulfilled important roles.
Now let's transport to the present day. The Padres are shopping for a power hitter. I'm not sure where they'll find one and I thought when they built PETCO they wanted line drive, gap type hitters. Which begs the question, Dave Roberts, with career numbers last year, why not keep him? He fits that bill and who will be the lead-off batter from the current roster?
I don't know and frankly I'm worried about the 2007 master plan. There's a lot more we don't know than we do at this point. I wish I could get into my time machine and transport to the future so I could tell you who's right but then again, it'd take a lot of fun trying to out-guess the Padre management. Time will tell!