Besides the base running, the Friars have enjoyed the friendly nature of Green. Noted as a manager who is very respectful and positive, I had the pleasure of meeting Green during spring training. At two games, Padres v. Brewers and Indians v. Padres, I saw how nice the skipper was. While some players skipped signing fans’ baseballs, Green was excited to do so. He also talked to fans during the games.
This season, he has shown a similar attitude towards his guys. Before the season started, the manager commented on how the city would play competitive baseball and not be an easy stop for better teams. This positivity in the face of what fans called a lost season prior to its start date shows how much Green values those he is coaching. Also, when the players have struggled, the Padres’ coach still had faith in them. He constantly put Ryan Schimpf in the lineup even though the third baseman was putting up weak at-bats. He trusted that Renfroe would adjust to pro pitching and walk more after walking only twice in his first 102 ABs. He continues to go on air, definitively saying how Myers is an amazing player who has not realized his vast potential. He has put Rule 5 picks Luis Torrens, Allen Córdoba, and Miguel Diaz in close games rather than refusing to challenge their transition from the low minors to the majors. These are just a few examples.
In all, he is a player’s manager. Otherwise, Andy Green has been a strong leader. The man has been unafraid to keep Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje in Triple-A to start the season. As a result, they have provided sparks to the Padres’ offense and shown potential to be higher quality major leaguers. Last week, Hunter Renfroe was demoted to work on his plate approach and ability to get on base. He has said how such a move was done with confidence in the fact that Hunter Renfroe would be getting more out of playing in the minors than struggling in the NL. Also, Green believes that Renfroe has the ability to still be a regular in San Diego for the long-term.
Besides being unafraid to demote players for their betterment, Green has stuck up for the club. When the Dodgers came to Petco in late June, SD’s manager refused to back down when Dave Roberts wanted to escalate a conflict. Roberts couldn’t justify his actions as the conflict occurred because of the bad attitude of LA’s starting pitcher, Alex Wood.
Instead of instructing his catcher to hide signs better, he yelled at Jose Pirela for trying to do what was advantageous, and steal signs. Pirela’s actions were fair and the harsh words that came out of Wood’s mouth were rightly opposed by Green. In a later incident, Cubs’ first base star, Anthony Rizzo, purposefully slid into Austin Hedges in an attempt to hurt him. Instead of pegging the player the next day as most managers would, Green took the high road and refused to hurt Rizzo on the baseball diamond, preferring to call him out on social media. Such maturity is exactly what SD needs as it builds a future full of youthful regulars.
Finally, the team record speaks volumes about Green’s ability to aptly lead the Padres. In 2016, the team posted a record of 68-94, good for third worst in MLB. However, that number was with the losses of Tyson Ross and Cory Spangenberg to injury, the numerous DL trips for Andrew Cashner, and the inclusion of Luis Perdomo, a A+ minor leaguer in 2015, in the starting rotation. Moreover, the supposed stars of San Diego, James Shields, Matt Kemp, and Derek Norris, contributed very little. In short, the new manager was handed a team with no quality hitters or pitchers and somehow made the team not finish last in the standings, a statement that couldn’t be said about nearly every statistical category. Also, after Shields and Kemp left and Myers declined in performance, SD did not fare much worse than in the first half. Through the first 89 games, Preller’s club had a winning percentage of .427. In the remainder of the season, where San Diego had some of its most productive players, Drew Pomeranz and Melvin Upton Jr., shipped off with Shields and Kemp, the team won at a rate of .411. This drop isn’t a precipitous crumble as such deadline deals should have caused. Instead, Green managed to get production out of his players.
This season has been a better story. With the 2017 starting rotation including Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard, Trevor Cahill, Jered Weaver, and Luis Perdomo, SD was expected to be headed towards a historically bad season. But this has not been the case at all. While the club ended up as third-worst last year, the Padres are sixth-worst this year. The record has improved to 38-50 in the first half and 55-69 overall. Since the all-star break, the Padres have been playing inspiring baseball. Players such as Cory Spangenberg, Jose Pirela, and Carlos Asuaje have taken significant steps forward in their development, and Jhoulys Chacin has been more consistent as of late, lowering his ERA below four for the first time and accumulating a 2.5 WAR. Also, Brad Hand has become a back-end stud in the mold of Andrew Miller, and Manuel Margot has teased all five tools. Margot might end up an all-star with his current trajectory, as his once below-average power has spiked to 13 this year. That power was all that was left to be unlocked by a kid who has plus speed, some of the best defense in center, and a solid plate approach. All these good things start with the man managing the team, Andy Green.
While critics may argue that Green doesn’t deserve an extension since he appears weak at times and SD continues to have a losing record, it would be wiser to disagree. Green has the likeable personality to lead a young team and the care to help young Padres to become the best they can be. Also, he is willing to take strong actions to improve his players and stick up for them. What’s resulted is more competitive ball in SD. As a result, Green deserves to see the next great Padres team while in the comfort of the dugout.
I write, I write, and then I write some more.. Lifelong Padres & Chargers fan who is tired of the acceptance of losing that grips all of San Diego sports fans!