@USAToday, Jake Roth

Green Always Means Go

But The Padres' Skipper May Not Have To

Chris Ello
April 10, 2019 - 11:19 pm

It was after the season was only a couple of days old, and already some big-time columnist from one of those popular sports websites was writing that Padres Manager Andy Green's job was in jeopardy. Well, they didn't exactly write it that way, but the idea of the story was that Green had better produce this season. Or else.

Understandable to a point. After all, the Padres have added their $300,000 million man Manny Machado to the roster, not to mention World Series veteran Ian Kinsler and baseball's top prospect in Fernando Tatis, Jr. Mix in the addition of first baseman Eric Hosmer last year, the ascension of pitching phenom Chris Paddack, the fact that San Diego has what everybody seems to agree is baseball's most promising future and, well, you get the message.

Gotta be better this season. Got. To.

Because we all know that Green means go. But maybe it doesn't have to.

First of all, the Padres are off to a better start this season, and one could argue that Green has been pushing all of the right buttons through the season's first couple of weeks. Need an Opening Day starter? Eric Lauer was the chosen one, and pitched six scoreless innings. Need a pinch-hitter to break open a scoreless game last week against Arizona?  Call on Francisco Mejia, who hits a two-out, RBI-double. Need a pinch homer to pull out a game earlier this week in San Francisco? Time to send up Franmil Reyes, who sends one into the Bay Area night and completes a rally from 5-0 down against Madison Bumgarner.

Andy Green would probably even be the two-weeks-into-the-season choice for N.L. Manager of the Year.

But what if things go south? What if the young pitching starts to show its age? What if the improved offense stalls? And the Gold Glove defense starts to spring some leaks? Guess what? All finger pointing will go in the direction of Green. In three seasons prior to this one, he has had very little success, they'll say. Maybe he's fine as a caretaker for young, inexperienced players, but unable to handle a new set of stars, they'll wonder.

How about wondering about this? Ownership and General Manager A.J. Preller put a lot of thought into hiring Andy Green to oversee the rebuilding of this franchise from the very bottom up. What message would it send if Green got axed before the rebuild could be seen through to its conclusion?

Look. A lot of people don't agree with this way of thinking. Green will have to be the scapegoat, they say, if the Padres fail to live up to their new and improved expectations. But I disagree. Green is showing he can handle a roster with good players -- even if we're only looking at a small sample size.

The skipper told Tony Gwynn, Jr. and myself on our radio show the day before the season that managing this group of Padres would be neither harder nor easier than before.

"It'll be better," he said.

And he's right. The better the players, the better the team, the better the manager's decisions seem to work out. It has played out that way so far. So much so, in fact, that in my way of thinking, Green actually means stay.