Arizona Diamondbacks – the case for Bud Black
By Mark Brown
Bud Black could be a major candidate for the manager’s job of the Arizona Diamondbacks
With the manager’s job now open for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the club’s management team said they will be deliberate in their ultimate choice.
The instability of personnel staying for a period of time, and a revolving door syndrome in recent years, could drive prospective candidates from the desert. Conversely, the lure of landing an attractive job with a struggling franchise and help the team reach glory could be enticing.
One candidate, already rumored to be on the short list of several clubs is Bud Black. Highly respected within the game and engaging with the media, Black, at 59-years-old, would be an ideal fit for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A pitcher for 15 seasons with five clubs, and twice with the Indians, Black’s knowledge of the game is telling. Combined, he went 121-116 with a career 3.84 ERA in 398 games (296 starts). That includes two post-seasons with the Royals and two World Series appearances for Kansas City in 1985.
As pitching coach for the Angels, Black honed his managerial skills . That was between 2006 and 2006, and he earned a World Series ring in 2002. That’s when the Angels defeated the Giants. That eventually catapulted Black into the manager’s job with the San Diego Padres, and a position he held from 2007 until fired on June 15 of last year.
Many believe Black’s firing was unsettling and unfair. That’s because Padres’ general manager A. J. Preller embarked on a win-now trading spree and acquired Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derrick Norris all within a span of 24-hours on Dec. 19, 2014. Preller also signed free agent pitchers James Shields and Brandon Maurer to the rotation. When these players did not produce right out of the 2015 gate, Black became the fall guy. For the 2015 season, the Padres finished with a record of 74-88 and fourth place in the National League West.
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In the Diamondbacks’ picture, Black would be perfect. As a pitching coach and instructor, Black could be in a position to assist the growth and development of Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller, Archie Bradley, and others. Cerebral by nature, Black has been known to manipulate players into success and has a track record in this area.
One player here is former Diamondback pitcher Ian Kennedy.
In 2012, Kennedy’s last full season with Arizona, the right-hander went 12-15, an ERA of 4.02, 187 strikeouts in 208.1 innings. Dealt in the middle of the 2013 season, Black’s instructions clearly improved numbers. For his first full season with Black in 2014, Kennedy broke even with a 13-13 record, but lowered his ERA to 3.63 and his 207 strikeouts remain a career high.
At this point, Derrick Hall, the Arizona club president, and Ken Kendrick, the club’s general managing partner, said their new general manager will have direct input on selection of the next manager. Though the pair disclosed no names at a Monday news conference, in which they announced GM Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale would not return for the 2017 season, they did promise a swift conclusion to filling the vacant positions.
Related Story: Hale, Stewart out in the desert
For now, Black remains an attractive candidate to many clubs. Given Black’s track record of working with pitchers, and pitching is the most critical of several immediate Arizona needs, Hall and Kendrick would be smart to strike now while the iron is hot.