Managerial Non-Update

Sorry for the lack of managerial coverage — I’ve been dedicating almost all of my time to the book lately (hope you’re enjoying the excerpts). Here’s a recap of where we’re at and what’s next for the Padres in their search for Bruce Bochy’s replacement:

  • All six candidates (Dusty Baker, Bud Black, Trey Hillman, Jose Oquendo, Tim Wallach, Ron Wotus) have been interviewed. Kevin Towers has said that he expects to have a decision made by Thursday or Friday.
  • Mike Cameron has vouched for Baker, despite never having played for the man. This fascinates me to the point of speechlessness. Quoth Cameron: “How can you not respect a guy who played with Hank Aaron?” Man’s got a point; after all, Denny McClain played with Aaron in ’72.
  • Bobby Valentine, who has led teams in North America and in Japan to championships, says that Hillman would be a “very good choice” for the Padres. Valentine notes that managing in Japan “is even harder in some ways than managing in the States,” citing the intense media scrutiny on that side of the Pacific. Hillman also has strong ties to Padres vice president of scouting and development Grady Fuson, who in 2002 hired Hillman as the Rangers’ director of player development. Prior to that, Hillman had managed in the Yankees system, being named top manager in the organization on three separate occasions. Hillman also is in the running for the A’s managerial vacancy and was under consideration for the Rangers’ job before they decided on Ron Washington. Needless to say, Hillman is in demand. The Padres have conducted two interviews with the guy, and if were a betting man, I’d say that the Pads’ next manager will be him or Black.
  • Tim Sullivan at the San Diego Union-Tribune has gone so far as to handicap the race, picking Baker as the 3-1 favorite. Sullivan acknowledges Baker’s many shortcomings and then talks about his popularity among players and the fact that he might influence Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez to sign with the Padres. Sullivan likes Hillman at 4-1 and Black at 5-1. I would be happy with either of those latter two.
  • Black played with Tony Gwynn at SDSU and lives here in town. He has done nothing to hide his enthusiasm for the job opening. Gwynn previously indicated a belief in Black’s ability to manage at the big-league level despite his lack of experience.

Next up for the Padres, according to Brian Hiro at the North County Times, Kevin Towers is scheduled to meet with Sandy Alderson on Tuesday to recommend two finalists for the job. Hiro’s article also cites Black and Hillman as favorites.

And, having nothing to do with managerial talks, Hiro also mentions (as covered earlier by Tom Krasovic in the U-T) the issues in working out a deal with pitching coach Darren Balsley. Seems Balsley’s hiring of an agent to represent him in negotations may have thrown Towers for a loop. Why this would cause Towers concern remains a mystery. All I know is that Balsley is the one coach the Padres can’t afford to lose. He’s been working with the likes of Jake Peavy since their days together at Class-A Lake Elsinore, and he seems to have a real good rapport with the veterans as well. Regardless of whether “rapport” is sufficient reason to retain a big-league coach, the results speak for themselves and it’d be a big mistake to let Balsley walk.

So, this is the plan. Get a manager not named Baker and keep Balsley. Then turn attention to free agents. Works for me; how about you?

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36 Responses »

  1. All the buzz around Hillman on the radio this morning.

    Certainly don’t know enough to have a favorite on my end. I was in favor of Black in the early going, but not sure if I really have enough info to evaluate these guys. Wish we could be a fly on the wall during these interviews. How great would it be to sit in and listen. That was the best part of Moneyball, learning what type of conversations take place when making trades, drafting, and general scouting.

  2. Sullivan is clueless. I care for his writings less and less each day.
    When was the last time a player signed with a team because the manager moved to that team?

    I put my money on Hillman. Sounds like he’s up for the job.

  3. I think yesterday some people were asking about how much Iwamura might cost in posting. Well here is the quote from on that topic.

    “The winning bid for third baseman Akinori Iwamura will not be made public by Yakult, but it is estimated to be just $1MM. The winning team should be known around Monday or Tuesday.”

    I was also wondering maybe Peter or someone else has heard but I’m curious as to what it would take to get Sheffield here. I keep hearing it everywhere and I understand why the front office would put in a call but I can’t figure out why the Padres are still being mentioned. First I think we would have to give up some sort of decent trade value because I think I read somewhere a few days back that a team like the Phillies are willing to give up Gavin Floyd +. Then I think we’d probably be on the hook for most of the $13mil. Sheffield is owed and that’s practically half of the $30mill KT is supposed to have this offseason.. Then 3rd we’d have to deal with his bitching and moaning all year about wanting a 3 year extension. The upsides are obvious because he would give us a power hitting right handed pull hitter and he is on a 1 year contract which both work out well for us but I can’t seem to convince myself that the positives outweigh the negatives. Maybe if we didn’t have to give up much it I would change my mind but I can’t see us getting off easy if some of the prospect rich clubs have any interest in him at all.

  4. Sullivan’s article left a lot to be desired. There is no indication from anyone that Baker is the favorite. Nor is that a good educated guess.

  5. 4: “[not] a good educated guess,” try not even an “educated guess.”

  6. also has a story that Aramis Ramirez is very close to re-signing with the the Cubs.

    I don’t think any teams are offering legit prospects for Sheffield, unless the Yankees are picking up a huge chunk of that contract. Gavin Floyd is definitely not a marquee name. It would be ironic if the Phillies got their right fielder from the Yankees by picking up a a big contract, after the Yankees got theirs from the Phillies the same way. I think I’d take Bobby Abreu over Sheffield though.

  7. I really hope we’re not just all in denial over Baker’s chances.

    Back on Hillman, I have no personal problem with the situation as stated in the press…if it were more than that, i.e. he was getting pushy with players or more interested in his religion than in coaching baseball, then of course but there’s been no mention of that.

    I do have a problem with Brian Giles pushing his orange-skin agenda in the clubhouse. ;-)

  8. Wow Clayton, I didn’t know you were an anti-orangite. How do live with yourself knowing how you despise orange people. There are millions of people up in Orange County that might like to take you out behind the woodshed.

  9. Plan sounds good to me. I don’t want Baker, either. He spits too much.

  10. On another note, there’s a mailbag up at Question #2 is about Moneyball. The answer is — well, I won’t spoil the fun. Go over there and read it, then come back here and let ‘er rip…

  11. Geoff, Are you talking about Fuson’s and SA’s denial that they are not confined by the label of being moneyballers? What else would you expect them to say?

    Hopefully, whatever their philosophy is I just hope it starts to bring in perennial contenders with an occasional champion (WS at best, NLCS at worst) thrown in here or there for fun.

  12. I’d be surprised if Iwamura’s winning post is around $1m… Sheffied is available, the more of his contract the Yankees pick up, the more he costs.




  13. The thing is, Moneyball DOES NOT say that. Moneyball said that you find characteristics that are undervalued and exploit them. During the period when Moneyball was being researched & writen (not when it was published) OBP was undervalued, as were college draft picks. Now college draft picks are the norm and Oakland grabbed a bunch of HS players early…

  14. Peter, no new update today? I enjoy reading your stuff!

  15. Peter, thanks for the response…I keep telling people that the “Moneyball” philosophy really means finding undervalued assets in the market. It is not unique to baseball.

    I think those that apply “Moneyball” to only mean OBP are completely missing the point. I hope the Pads are a “Moneyball” team. That just means that they are looking for inconsistancies in the marketplace that allow for good value when spending the money.

    For example, it seems that right now (ironically b/c of the Moneyball book) stolen bases are WAY undervalued…they are thought of by many of the statheads as a waste and to high a risk to take. Therefore, guys that steal bases in large amounts are not getting the contracts that other guys that produce similar numbers might otherwise get. SB’s might be able to be gotten on the cheap. (See Dave Roberts for an example.)

  16. 17: I’d be willing to bet DR gets considerably more than he’s worth this off-season.

  17. I hope Doc gets paid this off-season.

  18. Me too Didi, by Colorado or SF and to play CF…

    yeah, sorry for the lack of an update today. I’ll try to get one up tonight.

  19. 1090 is reporting that Towers’ option for 2008 was picked up. I guess that makes him a full-fledged moneyballer.

  20. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am having serious BB withdrawels this offseason, more so than in previous years. Whats up with that? Maybe because it could be the first time the Pad’s put their money where their mouth is and I am super excited to see what comes out of it!

  21. That moneyball response was funny because just this morning I was thinking how guys who don’t walk are almost being spit on by some analysts as totally worthless. I read a quote on Baseball Musings recently to the effect that Soriano with an OBP of .350 is a productive player but he’s an “out machine” with an OBP of .330. Over 700 PAs that’s 14 walks. Less than one every 10 games. And that makes the guy an out machine, even with 30-40 homers? I can definitely see a day when guys like that are seriously undervalued and Billy Beane starts picking them up on the cheap.

    Good thing we have these secret sealed bids for Japanese players. Iwamura will only cost $1 million but Matsuzaka will cost $21 million? Where does this come from, do all the teams anonymously fax their bids around the league? Why bother with this charade, let’s just have an open auction or draft for foreign players.

  22. 23: It sounds like you’re mixing up “underrated” with “undervalued.”

  23. 22
    I’m the same way, I just can’t get into football this year. Although that may be because the Steelers are 2- and whatever and Penn State got shut out last weekend.

    I think it’s b/c of 3 reasons:

    1. Pads made the playoffs, and actually looked like they had a chance

    2. Bochy’s gone . .. we’re all hoping they don’t hire Baker

    3. Maybe KT and Alderson can get Moores to spend some money this year.

    I think I’d be OK with Sheffield here. He’s a world class jerk, but he wouldn’t have a lot to be sour about. There’s nothing wrong with a little ‘tude sometimes.

    Also, Sheff is looking for a 2 or 3 year extension from whichever team he goes to.

  24. Man, I was thinking about how more I’m into football this year compared to previous years… But maybe it’s because the Steelers are 2- and whatever and Penn State got shut out last weekend…

    But that’s just me.

    LOL – sorry Nick, couldn’t help myself.

  25. Seriously tho, regarding Sheff’s ‘tude and wanting an extension, I bet he plays better in ’06 if his contract is NOT extended and he has to behave & perform.