The board game “Clue” has always been one of my favorites. When searching for the right answers to win the game, you must identify the right person, weapon and place in order to solve the puzzle.
The Padres are trying to figure out the right formula to build a winning team at Petco Park.
They’ve had guesses over the years and tried different approaches but it’s been awhile since they found sustained success on the baseball field.
Let’s take a closer look at why the Padres believe former Diamondbacks 3rd base coach Andy Green is part of the winning solution.
In one of the easiest puns you will ever find, you could say the Padres new manager is a little green.
The former Diamondbacks and Mets player has managed for four seasons in the minors, but this is his first time as a MLB manager.
Green is only 38 and the 2nd-youngest manager in the big leagues by just a few months. Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash turns 38 in December while Green already celebrated his birthday this past July.
The early reaction to the hire from fans on social media Thursday was that of disappointment.
But age is just a number. Everyone at some point in their career started somewhere.
Green actually owns a winning record in the minor leagues. He compiled a 219-189 mark and helped the Missoula Ospreys win the Pioneer League in 2012. He also was named Manager of the Year in 2013 and 2014 when he spent time in Double-A in Mobile, Alabama.
Here’s some more fun facts on the new Padres manager:
-He was valedictorian of his high school class and holds a college degree from the University of Kentucky.
-He currently ranks as the Wildcats’ career record holder in hits, at-bats, runs scored and games played. And he confessed that he does “bleed blue” as a loyal UK basketball fan.
- His birthday is July 7th, 1977. That’s 7/7/77 for those playing along at home.
- He also interviewed for the Washington Nationals opening – which ironically will be filled by former Padres manager Bud Black.
- He is married to his wife, Jessica, and they have three daughters, Anna, Emily and Lainey.
“When the phone rang and the permission came to be interviewed by the Padres, I got a fist-pump from my wife,” admitted Green. “It doesn't take long to know what this city is. It's amazing and I couldn't be more happy. Hey, pick 1 of the 30 (MLB teams) and what a great place to be."
General Manager AJ Preller could have gone in many different directions. Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Pirates 3rd base coach Rick Sofield were also in the mix. But the Padres believe they found their man – regardless of age or MLB managerial experience.
“We were really open-minded to any of those paths, finding the right person that had presence, had energy, was intelligent on the baseball side, was prepared and Andy checked all those boxes,” explained Preller.
Green is going to have to break out his toolbox and do some tinkering with the Padres.
As Preller tries to find the right roster parts and Green writes out lineup cards, he will need to know when to tighten the screws or keep things loose in the clubhouse.
Green made it clear he does not plan on being a dictator in the dugout. He wants the veterans to feel like they have ownership of the team.
That mentality should build trust with his older players and is vital to having a clubhouse with good chemistry. And of course the players that are entrusted with those roles need to be good leaders.
“I'm not a territorial guy,” said Green. “I want ideas from everywhere. I welcome them from outside the coaching staff and inside the coaching staff. Whatever we can do to be the absolute best we can be - that's what we're going to be committed to doing as the Padres organization.”
Green made a point in his introductory press conference to credit mentors like Tony La Russa and Arizona manager Chip Hale for helping prepare him for this opportunity.
Like Preller, Green says he embraces analytics. But he also doesn’t want to throw so many statistics at his players that it makes their heads spin like fans in a dizzy bat race.
“I was immediately impressed with the (interview) process because AJ brought in everybody from Baseball Ops (Operations) to talk to us,” said Green, “and I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Loretta and Trevor Hoffman and talk to them about what they thought was important.”
As a division rival with the Diamondbacks, Green spent this past season looking for holes in the Padres lineup and trying to attack any weakness to help Arizona win.
That experience probably helped him in his interviews with the Padres because if you know a player’s deficiencies you also know what areas need improvement.
The Guessing Game
The atmosphere can be exhilarating in San Diego when the local baseball team is winning.
The Padres are banking on this being the winning solution that gets the team back in the postseason.
The Padres haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. We shall see if Mr. Green with the wrench in the library winds up being a good guess.