San Diego Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has already made his first major move since the start of the 2015 season — he relieved Bud Black of his managerial duties and appointed Pat Murphy as the interim manager for the duration of the season.
Black’s firing is less than a week old, but the team has managed to win just two games since it happened, a 3-1 win over Oakland Athletics in an effort to avoid being swept, and last night’s solid win over the Arizona Diamond Backs.
Fans, and even the media, have been split on the notion behind Black’s firing. The pro-Buddy side has been emboldened by the team’s performance. The argument from Black’s supporters all season has been that Black isn’t responsible for individual performances on the field. Black certainly can’t be blamed for players slumping or pitchers not having command of their pitches.
The other side has been quiet, yet optimistic. Murphy is new to this club. The players know him from Spring Training, but he is new to them as a manager.
Murphy features a gritty side, something that Black did not show, being easy going and mostly quiet. The belief was that Murphy would shake up the clubhouse right away and get his players motivated. It hasn’t happened yet, but could it be that Murphy needs time to settle in?
The trade deadline is fast approaching, and the team is still very much in the postseason chase at this point. However, that window only becomes narrower with each loss, while the teams ahead of the Padres in both the division and Wild Card chases continue to win.
This team still has needs to address, and moves will be made after the calendar turns to July. Preller will likely acquire a shortstop and maybe even another starting pitcher.
However, the pieces that are in place on this team right now, who were brought in to change the culture in San Diego and give the fans a winner, are not performing as advertised. Matt Kemp is showing signs of life, but he is still achieving much less than anticipated. Andrew Cashner continues to struggle on the mound. Justin Upton is living up to expectations, but with the belief that the team can’t afford him beyond this season, he may be spending his final days in a Padres uniform.
If this team falls far behind in the postseason race by the end of July, what will Preller do? Will he blow up the team and trade away players with as much fury as he showed when he acquired them? Or will he keep most of the team intact during the remainder of the season, and improve the roster after the season concludes?
For now, it’s about what the fans have wanted since all of these players were acquired. The fans want positive results. The team was built to produce those results, but so far hasn’t lived up to the hype.
The clock is ticking, Padres. It’s time to flip the script and give the fans the winner they were promised.
Please make it happen.