This season, I’ve occasionally felt the need to come out in defense of Padres manager Andy Green.
When the whole “Fire Andy Green” movement hit an apex back in April, I penned an article on this blog illustrating why a mid-season firing of the skipper would have been a bad idea.
This puts me in a tough spot. Am I a stan for Andy Green now? To be honest, there are much, much better hills to die on. Green is far from a perfect manager, and the truth is that there is some validity to the arguments suggesting that the team would be well-served by a managerial change in the offseason.
But, luckily, I am an internet gasbag, and, as such, am entitled to disperse conflicting and even contradictory opinions. Like the following:
Andy Green is freaking awful at crafting lineups.
Of all the responsibilities MLB managers, um, manage, lineup creation is perhaps the most important. A well-thought out lineup considers the various strengths of player personnel, while also setting up a battle plan for a given day’s opposing pitcher. Even kids understand the importance of lefty/righty balance, power in the cleanup spot, etc. al..
But there is one idea that, though it might not be obvious to the most casual fan, should be absolutely embraced by managers like Green: the importance of the “2” spot in the batting order.
A lot has been written about the historical misuse of the second position in the batting order. In the past, managers wanted middle-infield types who could bunt or make contact in this lineup position. As an article like this one points out, that strategy is ridiculous, generally speaking, and should be cast aside in favor of a more simple approach—put a really good hitter in the “2” spot, because the “2” spot comes to bat...like, a lot.
Apparently, Andy Green hasn’t received this memo. While more successful teams around baseball use guys like Anthony Rizzo, Nick Castellanos, and Joey Votto in the second spot, Andy Green has felt compelled this August to serve up the following in this position:
- A heaping portion of Wil Myers (like, Cheesecake Factory-sized)
- A side order of lightly braised Naylor
- An aperitif of Greg Garcia
- Manuel Margot (which actually sounds like a delicious dish in its own right)
Like, yeesh. Gee gads. Shake my damn head. Or, more bluntly put: what the hell are we doing?
As I recall, one of the chief attributes that helped Green land his first managerial job was his supposed fluency with analytics. This supposed fluency seems extremely fair to question at this point in time.
I’m never going to be a guy who calls for the firing of an employee due to perceived “underperformance”. If someone in a professional position acts immorally or exhibits conduct unbecoming to an organization, I can get behind a firing. But calling for the head of someone with a family—because I’m not satisfied with a baseball team’s performance—will always feel crass.
That said, if you want fodder for arguments in favor of a Green dismissal, well...you only need to check tomorrow night’s lineup card.
(Ed Note: At the suggestion of GLB reader Brother Bob, I was asked to provide my solution for the second spot chasm in the Padres lineup. Francisco Mejia—he of the .364 second half batting average—is raising his hand meekly somewhere in the Padre clubhouse. Raise that hand higher, Frankie—you’re hitting .290 with men on base this season.)