Coming to the Defense of Andy Green

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When did Andy Green become a polarizing figure?

Andy Green, the unassuming, non-inflammatory manager of our beloved Friars is under siege by much of the fan base. When the Padres’ approach shifted from, “win now” (what he signed on for), to “the process”, he embraced it—knowing his managerial record would look terrible for years and, “the process” might not work. 

Yep, that guy. For many fans, under the bus he goes. Not the players. Not A.J. Preller. Not ownership. Andy Green.

Because…

This franchise is in disrepair at the major league level. There is no other reasonable way to look at it. In a year the franchise was supposed to begin making a positive turn, however small, it hasn’t. The Padres are still poor defensively (except shortstop), poor on the bases, and poor at the plate. Pitching, as usual, is overachieving, outside of the Bryan Mitchell nightmare. Let us hope the bullpen brings out his best.

I’ve been critical of, “the process” in earlier writings and subsequently cursed by some of the Padres’ fan base. My case was simple—the chances of success with a full rebuild are far less than a more balanced approach. For every Houston Astros, there are five or more franchises mired in mediocrity engaging in a perpetual rebuild.

No one gets to the top without quality veterans. No one hits on every, or nearly every prospect. It’s a very high-risk proposition to engage the sort of process the Padres are in the midst of. We are now seeing the risk. This doesn’t mean the process has or will fail. It’s just not inevitable. Now we know.

Go back a couple of years and see who had the top farm systems in MLB. At the start of 2016, the top 10 farm systems according to MLB Pipeline were:

  1. Dodgers
  2. Braves
  3. Rangers
  4. Rockies
  5. Twins
  6. Red Sox
  7. Phillies
  8. Pirates
  9. Brewers
  10. Astros

Having a great farm system is awesome. It also guarantees you nothing.

There are legitimate and illegitimate, “processes.” The former is what I believe the Padres are attempting (legitimate). The latter provides unaccountable job security for years to mediocre and cheap front offices/ownership. That’s not what the Padres are after. I really believe the Padres are after the best possible process in the least amount of time necessary.

Our young talent is real. I’ve had the chance to watch many of the Padres’ prospects extensively and in person. The talent is there. Nevertheless, what the Padres are doing is an attempt. It is not a formula or inevitable. What Padres fans are experiencing is the spasming of a team adolescent in a rebuilding process. Part of the process is realizing upside has a downside—that potential is just that. When someone/something with potential doesn’t pan out, we feel like someone is to blame.

Credit: AP Photo

I don’t believe it’s Andy Green.

I believe Andy Green is highly intelligent, a man of integrity, liked by his players and front office. I don’t think he has a lazy bone in his body. If I was a young player in the Padres’ system, I would look forward to playing for Andy Green someday. Andy Green knows baseball, and I think Andy Green can manage intelligently against anyone in the league while his experience catches up with his smarts.

I have my own qualms about how he juggles the lineup nearly every day–and often sits players down for a rest day when they are hot. I think he pulls pitchers too early. I think he pulls pitchers too late. I think he sometime relies too heavily on analytics. But, those are matters of opinion. It is a fact he has been given a modestly talented, out-of-balance roster he has to piece together on a nightly basis. That’s on A.J. Preller. Andy Green didn’t sign Bryan Mitchell, Chase Headley or a host of odd cases he’s been handed over his Padres tenure. Andy Green drafts and signs no one. He coaches the best he can with what he is given, and who is healthy. 

Andy Green is the creator and keeper of the team culture, as well as the game manager. He is great at the former. He is growing in the latter. I think by the time the process comes to fruition (if it does), Andy Green will be one of the best managers in baseball. I really do.

Andy Green deserves a fairer assessment than we can now give him. As he gains experience, let’s give him a decent roster so we can actually judge his managerial ability–not simply his disagreement with our armchair opinions (including my own). By all means, let’s ask the questions, let’s hold people accountable. Let’s argue about it on Twitter. But, let’s not make Andy Green the fall guy for this…yet.

I can’t lie. I cringe on almost a nightly basis watching this team. The team is performing poorly on the field. Some prospects and young players appear to be in decline rather than showing improvement. Veteran players continue to disappoint. But that’s not all on Andy Green. That’s as much on the players themselves and general manager as anyone.

I suggest we wait until the end of the 2019 season to see how the team is doing. At that point, I would also take a long look at A.J. Preller’s body of work. He is the general manager, not the scouting director–and the Padres’ goal is to compete for a World Series title, not just sweep the MLB Pipeline awards every year. He has built the farm system well. He needs to fix the MLB roster soon. Andy Green’s job and credibility could depend on it.

We might know by the end of this season, but by the end of 2019 we will know if, “the process” is heading toward consummation or whether it is merely a hallucination. I believe this team will get a lot better sometime soon, and I believe Andy Green will be a big part of it.

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Tim Spivey
Tim is a former pitcher and avid, life-long baseball fan. He is also a husband, father, pastor, writer, and professor...who drinks a lot of coffee.

6 thoughts on “Coming to the Defense of Andy Green

  1. When the roster sucks it’s on the GM. Let’s be honest here, this roster is full of prospects who might be good in a few years (Margot, Hedges, etc), failed prospects (Villanueva, Spangenberg), retreads (Richard, Ross), and stopgappers (Galvis).
    The 2020 team will feature only 4 players currently on the 25 man roster: Hosmer (because he is untradeable), Myers (ditto), Hand, Cordero. Others MIGHT make the cut if they improve, and Lucchesi looks very good so far.
    If you’re unhappy with this, blame Preller. Traded Trea Turner for Wil Myers. Signed Shields, traded for Kemp, extended Myers, signed Hosmer. Every big dollar move has been ridiculous.
    A manager can’t win with bad players. Always amuses me when a casual fan, who’s exposure to the game is with a beer in his hand and his feet up on a barcolounger thinks he knows more than professionals who have worked in the game their whole lives.

  2. How exactly has Green mishandled Hand? He is our best pitcher and Green uses him in the highest leverage situations. That is what you’re supposed to do with your “closer”. I’m a firm supporter in Green, his decisions make me scratch my head at times, but EVERY manager does that at times. He’s a very smart guy, and he’s the guy you want at the helm when this team is ready to compete.

  3. I believe that Andy Green is intelligent, but not for baseball. The Padres need a manager that has championship swag, he does not! Until then, the team will and always will be the sweeping door to the rest of the Baseball Major League.

  4. I can certainly agree it leaves me scratching my head sometimes. Then again, I wonder who he puts in just now (Mother’s Day) at the end of that game other than Brad Hand. If you have a problem with it, I get it.

  5. Can we agree he does not know how to use Brad Hand? His ERA would be incredible — and the Padres record much better … and perhaps their morale — if Green wasn’t so brutally bad in handling this one player. Green virtually gets a pass because everyone agrees the team is not talented. Yet that does not mean that Green is not a bad manager.

    1. I’ve been a fan since 84. I’ve observed a lot of managers in the NL West. Greene is, in my humble opinion, exceptionally gifted at creating a positive atmosphere in the clubhouse. Similar to Bochy, but with a greater emphasis on Analytics. The real test will be how he finishes this year, and handles next year, with the wave of pitching talent coming up. Let’s be honest, the pitching on this team is subpar, and they lost their best picture in April when Lamet went down. So keep watching and Ride The Wave, we’ll see how it unfolds

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