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NL West Report: Padres Offer Bud Black Three Year Extension

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Bud Black is in his fourth season as a manager in Major League Baseball.  He took over a team in 2007 that had won back-to-back NL West titles under Bruce Bochy, and they looked primed for another in Black's first year, as San Diego was first in the division as late as September 4.  

But the Padres collapsed down the stretch, punctuated by their star outfielder Milton Bradley tore his ACL upon being thrown to the ground by Black.  San Diego succumbed to Rocktober and fell all the way to third place, the best finish by the Padres in the Bud Black era.  The team is 17 games under .500 under Black's direction.

Today, the Padres announced they would be giving Bud Black a three year extension, with club options in 2014 and 2015.  Now that's a vote of confidence, and it is well-deserved.

After completing a 12-game improvement last season, Black has led the young Padres to the best record in the National League.   They have been first in the NL West every day sans four since April 20.  He has to be the unanimous front-runner for Manager of the Year this season.  I can't say I'm totally surprised given the Padres' surprising relevance in 2009 (I would have voted for Black as MoY last season if not for Jim Tracy).

What's more - Bud Black, a former pitching coach, is presiding over a potentially record-breaking pitching staff.  The Padres are on pace to allow the fewest runs since 1989, when I was terrorizing my parents during my Terrible Twos.   Yeah yeah, PetCo Park.  That undoubtedly helps, as the staff ERA+ is actually tied with the Rockies for 3rd in the NL.

That shouldn't cloud your judgement.  Consider that San Diego's most valuable pitcher last year, Kevin Correia, has struggled to the tune of a 69 ERA+.  Consider that PetCo Park is in its 7th season and even with Jake Peavy, we have never seen a pitching staff this successful in San Diego.    Remember that three of the pitchers in the rotation are 26 or younger, and the best one is 22.  One of the most understated characteristics of managers is their handling of young prospects, and by all accounts, Black knows exactly what he is doing.  I respect Black a great deal, and his track record of leading young teams to surprising success will be a challenge to the Rockies for as long as Black is at the helm. 

In a time where every fanbase loathes their team's manager, the Padres don't have much to complain about.  Click here for GasLampBall's reaction to the news this morning.  

Dex at GLB provides a quality microcosm of reactions from San Diegans today.

I've come around to the idea that playing for the hit and run, the steal on both offense and defense, taking the extra base, instilling confidence in the young guys, truly playing and aligning defenses and not just shifting the infield over for a power hitter, knowing (like really knowing) how to handle pitchers and get the most out of them. This is Padres Baseball. All of this is Bud Black's game and I'm totally down with that.

Am I convinced that another manager wouldn't have us in first place at this point in the season? Not totally. But I'll take Bud Black over any other manager 7 days out of the week and twice on Tuesdays.

As my boss says, "If the Padres could win by half a run, they would."


Team capsules after the jump.

NL West Report

Arizona (34-55, 5th, L4, 20.5 GB)

Last Week: 0-3.  0-3 @ Padres. Dan Haren allowed two home runs Friday, the sixth time he has done so this season.  That's not as bad as it gets for Arizona fans.  Saturday's starter, Rodrigo Lopez, allowed four home runs to the Padres to surpass Haren for the most HR allowed in MLB.

Divisional Change: Lost 3.0 games to first-place San Diego.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Mets.  4 game home series vs.  Giants.

You Should Know:  Arizona hasn't won a series against an NL team in over a month (St. Louis).

News: The Diamondbacks have the third worst record in MLB.  Obviously, they will be sellers at the trade deadline.  Jim McLennan goes over the most likely players to be traded by the deadline at AZSnakePit.  Adam LaRoche (Angels), Dan Haren (Tigers) and Chris Snyder (Red Sox) are the top three as voted on by the community, but I'm starting to have serious doubts on Dan Haren being dealt.

Dan Haren

#15 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Sep 17, 1980

2010 - Dan Haren 7-8 22 20 1 0 0 0 135.0 155 76 69 21 27 133 4.60 1.35

As Jon Heyman reported, interim GM Jerry DiPoto is asking for two starting pitchers and bullpen help for Haren, which obviously means the Rockies won't be trading for Haren despite this random mention on MLBTR.

Nick Piecoro suggests the Diamondbacks will either try to sign RHP Barret Loux at a discount or pass on trying to sign him after he failed his physical.  This is no surprise.

Brandon Webb is nearing his return, as it has been a few weeks since his latest set-back.  Webb is hoping to return in time for six starts this season.  That would be a good number to perhaps convince someone to give him a Ben Sheets type contract this offseason.

Tread lightly with this topic if you discuss it, please.  Yovani Gallardo is refusing to participate in the 2011 All-Star Game.  Yes, next year's game.  If Gallardo is selected, he doesn't want to go to Phoenix.  The reason?  Arizona's immigration law.

Chris Young had a horrid performance at the Home Run Derby, but at least he had fun.  I think Steve Gilbert has been well practiced at that article angle since 2008.

The 2007 playoffs marked the planting of a sapling, one that one day was supposed to become a mighty rivalry between the Rockies and Diamondbacks.  Of course, that never materialized, as Arizona has fallen on extremely difficult times.  However, the rivalry might not have ever happened anyway, consideringSnakePitters are closet Rockies fans.

Transactions:  None.

Injuries:  Kris Benson still has not resumed rehab assignments, though Brandon Webb did have an "intense long-toss session" last Friday.  His ETA has now been set as mid-August.  Adam LaRoche is dealing with back stiffness, though he did get two hits Saturday.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 03/26/2010
Leo Rosales foot 04/29/2010


Los Angeles (49-43, 4th, L4, 5.5 GB, 1.5 GB WC)

Last Week: 0-4.  0-4 @ Cardinals.  The Dodgers lost all four games in St. Louis, capped by a blown four-run lead by the bullpen yesterday, three of which scored with Jonathan Broxton on the mound.  The loss means Los Angeles is now 4-21 in their last 25 games at Busch Stadium.

Divisional Change:  Lost 3.5 games to first place San Diego, fell into fourth place in the NL West.  

This Week:  3 game home series vs. Giants.  4 game home series vs. Mets.

You Should Know:  James McDonald will likely get the call to start tonight, marking his 2010 debut.  

News:  According to Bill Skaikin of the LA Times, Ned Colletti will not consider trading Matt Kemp.  Even more, Colletti claims it was never a consideration.

Joe Torre has been doing a straight platoon at second base with Jamey Carroll and Blake DeWitt.  That platoon doesn't appear to be ending....

Jamey Carroll

#14 / Second Base / Los Angeles Dodgers





Feb 18, 1974

2010 - Jamey Carroll 77 182 31 54 7 1 0 11 32 36 6 0 .297 .397 .346

...unless Jamey Carroll is traded.  The Dodgers have been fielding many calls on the former-Rockie, though he seems to be well-liked in the organization.

Los Angeles placed LHP George Sherrill on outright waivers.  That's a long fall from the guy who dominated down the stretch for the Dodgers last season.  It's also a lesson for GM's who are tempted to trade a top position prospect for relief help....any relief help.  Here is TrueBlueLA's reaction.

Steve Dilbeck predicts that Garret Anderson's days in Los Angeles are numbered.  With the club showing more trust in Xavier Paul and more willingness to cut ties with big name players, Anderson may not have a role once Reed Johnson returns from the disabled list.

Apparently, there were scouts from Japan at a recent Dodger game.

The Dodgers are in trouble.  A handcuffed Ned Colletti is watching his reeling team fall in the standings as the trade deadline looms less than two weeks away.  To see how Dodger fans are reacting, take a gander at Eric Stephen's always excellent Week in Review at TrueBlue LA.

Transactions:   Optioned RHP John Ely to AAA Albuquerque and called up RHP Jon Link.  Link has been on the bus between AAA and the big leagues about six times more than Esmil Rogers, or close to it.  Don't be surprised if he gets demoted again today for McDonald.

Injuries:  Activated LF Manny Ramirez and placed OF Reed Johnson on 15-day DL retroactive to July 9.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Manny Ramirez calf 07/18/2010
Russell Martin thumb 07/18/2010
James Loney leg 07/18/2010


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Reed Johnson back 07/09/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brad Ausmus back 04/09/2010


San Diego (54-37, 1st, W4)

Last Week: 3-0.  3-0 vs. Diamondbacks.   PetCo Park limits home runs the most in MLB.  The Diamondbacks pitching staff allow the most home runs in MLB, by 18.  Arizona's staff won out in the wrong way, surrendering eight home runs (and 26 runs) in the series, two by Chris Denorfia yesterday.

Divisional Change:  Lost 1.5 games to 2nd place Los Angeles and 2.5 games to now second place Colorado.  By winning yesterday, they maintain first place for the 12th straight Monday.  

This Week:  3 game road series @ Braves.  3 game road series @ Pirates.

You Should Know:  The last time San Diego faced an above .500 team was June 22-24 (Tampa Bay).  The last NL team under .500 (other than Colorado) was the Mets  from June 8-10.  It doesn't get a whole lot more difficult until September 3.  Starting that game at Coors Field, the Padres' final 30 games are against above .500 teams.

News:  Adrian Gonzalez is a beast.  If Petco Park wasn't dwarfing his numbers, he could be challenging Albert Pujols in just about every way.  Adrian Gonzalez will be a free agent after 2011.  Given his talent level, he's seeking an 8-year contract with around $20mil/year.   That's a problem for San Diego.  Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests that there's essentially no chance that A-Gone will be a a Padre after next season.

Adrian Gonzalez

#23 / First Base / San Diego Padres





May 08, 1982

2010 - Adrian Gonzalez 88 326 54 99 20 0 20 59 53 61 0 0 .304 .401 .549
Jed Hoyer has not had any discussions with Gonzalez about an extension, and while the Padres' success this year means that he won't be traded at the trade deadline, it means nothing for his long term future in San Diego, as the Padres aren't likely to provide the 8-year contract Gonzalez is due.
Instead, the Padres will be looking to make small impact trades, avoiding rental players in the process.
Gas Lamp Ball polled their community to put together a list of most-hated teams by Padres' fans.  Here's to hoping the Rockies continue to climb that list in the next couple years from their current position (fifth).
If you haven't heard by now, young stud pitcher Mat Latos was placed on the disabled list after an "aborted sneeze."  He won't miss any scheduled starts and will be allowed to remain with the big league club and pitching coach Darren Balsley.  How convenient.

Transactions:  Recalled RHP Ernesto Frieri and OF Luis Durango from AAA Portland.  Claimed CF Quintin Berry off waivers from Philadelphia and assigned him to AA San Antonio.

Injuries:  In addition to Mat Latos' "oblique strain," Mike Adams suffered the injury for real against the Rockies on July 11.  I wonder if he resents Latos.  Kyle Blanks took a cortizone shot shot over the All-Star Break and could return later this month.

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Will Venable lower-back 07/02/2010
Kyle Blanks elbow 05/18/2010
Mike Adams oblique 07/12/2010
Mat Latos oblique 07/09/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Young shoulder 04/07/2010
Matt Antonelli hand 04/30/2010


San Francisco (50-42, 3rd, L1, 4.5 GB, 0.5 GB WC)

Last Week: 3-1.  3-1 vs. Mets.  A poor call by Phil Cuzzi at home in the ninth inning was all that prevented San Francisco from being the fourth NL West team to be involved in a sweep over the weekend.  

Divisional Change:  Lost 0.5 games to San Diego.  Leap-frogged Los Angeles for sole possession of third place in the division

This Week:  3 game road series @ Dodgers.  4 game road series @ Diamondbacks.

You Should Know:  The Giants are on fire, winners of 9 of 11.  They now rank third in the NL in run differential, behind San Diego and St. Louis, one run better than Atlanta.

News:  Last week, Brian Sabean became the second NL West GM this season to take a flyer on LHP Dontrelle Willis.  Of course, the difference between Josh Byrnes and Sabean's moves are immense, so don't just go to LOLGNATS or LOLSABEAN yet.

Dontrelle Willis

#0 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants





Jan 12, 1982

2010 - Dontrelle Willis 1-1 6 5 0 0 0 0 22.1 24 17 17 3 27 14 6.85 2.28
First of all, consider the price.  Billy Buckner isn't a very valuable piece, but he's worth more than nothing, which is what Sabean gave up to add him to the team.  Second, Willis will not be pitching for the San Francisco Giants but for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies on a minor league contract.  Minor league contracts are always worth the risk.
Lastly, the Giants are looking to salvage value from Willis as a LOOGY, not a starter.  That's not a bad idea, considering lefties have hit for a 54 OPS+ against Willis in his career, compared to 109 for righties.  That difference is even more pronounced this season (39/124).  They will still need to iron out his control issues if he's to be a valuable reliever, but there's certainly potential for Willis to re-find his groove as a reliever.
Grant from McCovey Chronicles is known for his satirical style, but he offered avery good serious analysis on Willis earlier this week.  Some highlights:

When Jonathan Sanchez has one of those bang-your-head-against-the-desk days, he'll walk five hitters in five innings. That's about what Willis has averaged for the past three-plus seasons. But he's Dontrelle Willis! The Giants are under no obligation to do anything but pay him peanuts and see if they can fix him. It's low-risk, high-reward, though the chances of the reward part are faint, if not non-existent. If the Giants could figure out why Willis went from wild to historically wild, they'll have a bargain of a pitcher.

As speculated upon earlier, the Brewers asked for either Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner in return for Corey Hart, who will be a free agent at the end of this season.  Understandably, Brian Sabean balked at that.

With Hart seemingly off the radar, Sabean is looking at the Royals outfield.  Hank Schulman reported a top Royals scout was visiting the Giants.  While David DeJesus has long been linked to the Giants, the Royals asking priceof "a major league-ready prospect and mid-level prospect" appears to be too much for the San Francisco.  Given that, Chris Haft reports that Jose Guillen is the more likely acquisition.

Either way, Bruce Bochy won't be happy.  He doesn't want a trade at all, especially if it takes surrendering someone from the 25-man roster.

Transactions:   None

Injuries:  RHP Todd Wellemeyer's quadriceps still isn't healed, though the Giants obviously won't rush him.  He'll be back at the end of the month at the earliest.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Todd Wellemeyer quadriceps 06/11/2010
Dan Runzler knee 07/09/2010