Rockies Hire Bud Black: Colorado Chooses Former San Diego Padres Manager To Lead Team

According to USA TODAY Sports‘ Bob Nightengale, the Colorado Rockies have hired former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black to lead the team into 2017. Black was with the Padres from 2007-2015 and compiled a 649-713 record without ever reaching the postseason.

The Padres fired Bud midway through the 2015 season after the team struggled out of the gates in a season with raised expectations after new general manager A.J. Preller made some drastic offseason changes to the roster. After the slow start, Preller decided that there had to be a scapegoat for the team’s troubles and chose to fire Black.

After being fired by the Padres, Black joined the Los Angeles Angels as a special assistant to general manager Billy Eppler. It was Bud’s second stint with the Angels during his coaching career after he spent 2000-06 as Mike Scioscia’s pitching coach.

Reports came out last offseason that Bud Black had gotten the Washington Nationals’ managerial job, but things broke down over contract talks as the Nationals reportedly low-balled Black and he decided to walk away, according to USA TODAY. Nightengale reported at the time that the Nationals offered Black a one-year deal worth $1.6 million and refused to go higher than two years on any contract.

After Black walked away, the Nationals ended up hiring Dusty Baker who led the team to a 95-67 record and the NL East crown. Unfortunately, Washington was defeated in five games in the National League Divisional Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As for the Colorado Rockies, the team made the decision to not bring back Walt Weiss after a 2016 season in which they went 75-87. During his four years in Colorado, Weiss went 283-365 and never finished higher than third place in the NL West. In fact, 2016 was Weiss’ best season in terms of win total during his four seasons with the Rockies.

Black will take over a team that sported the best offense in the National League in 2016, and the second-best in all of baseball. The Rockies scored a whopping 845 runs last season while batting.275 with a.336 OBP as a team. Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and D.J. LeMahieu combine to make one of the best offensive and defensive infields in all of baseball while Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, and Gerardo Parra form one of the most dangerous outfields in the league.

The problem for the Rockies has always been pitching and that’s why Bud Black was the perfect hire for this club. Playing 81 games in thin air makes it difficult for Colorado pitchers to be successful. Last season, the Rockies finished 27th in MLB with a 4.91 team ERA. The starting rotation was a little better with a 4.79 ERA, but the bullpen was the worst in the majors with a 5.13.

Although the numbers were ugly, Black does have a few pieces to work with, especially in the rotation. Jon Gray showed flashes of being a potential ace in the future while lefty Tyler Anderson finished with a 3.54 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 19 starts and Tyler Chatwood had a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts.

The bullpen is really where the Colorado Rockies need to make major improvements this offseason. Jake McGee struggled in the closer role and may be better suited for a set-up role or in middle relief. The only three relievers to finish the season with a sub-4.00 ERA for the Rockies were Chris Rusin, Boone Logan, and Adam Ottovino. Even if the team decides to stick with those four guys, that leaves three other spots that could use upgrades.

The Colorado Rockies are still a ways away from competing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West, but they took a big step forward by hiring Bud Black on Sunday.

[Featured Image by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images]