Dave Roberts Rumors

Padres Expected To Name Interim Manager Today

The Padres are expected to name an interim manager that will hold the position through the end of the season today, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune. More than likely, it’ll be an internal candidate, Lin adds. He hears that Triple-A manager Pat Murphy and bench coach Dave Roberts (who managed last night’s contest in Black’s absence) are the two likeliest candidates. First-year hitting coach Mark Kotsay has been discussed internally, he adds, but Kotsay is viewed as a less likely candidate.

Both Will Carroll of Fanduel and Keith Olbermann of ESPN heard yesterday that Murphy was on his way to San Diego, though Olbermann’s source indicated that it was possible that Murphy could become either the bench coach or the manager (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that some view Murphy as the favorite to succeed Black, at least for the remainder of the season, and he will indeed be interviewed (or, perhaps, was already interviewed last night). Heyman writes that general manager A.J. Preller is said to want a manager with a fiery personality, and the Padres recently declined to let Murphy interview for a big league coaching position with the Brewers, perhaps indicating larger plans for him.

While Lin’s report makes Kotsay appear unlikely, Joel Sherman of the New York Post did tweet yesterday that the most common names he’s heard from executives outside of the Padres organization are Kotsay and Murphy. Scott Miller of FOX Sports Southwest and Bleacher Report added third base coach Glenn Hoffman’s name into the mix as well.

Padres Fire Bud Black

The Padres announced that they have relieved manager Bud Black of his duties. The team will begin a formal search for an interim manager to play out the remainder of the 2015 season immediately, per a Padres press release. Until that search is concluded, bench coach Dave Roberts will serve as the club’s manager.

Black’s nine years as manager of the Padres have helped to make him one of baseball’s most respected skippers. The move has been speculated upon in the past, but it still comes as somewhat of a shock to see it actually executed. In 1362 career games as a manager, all with San Diego, Black has totaled a record of 649-713 despite routinely having to work with one of baseball’s lowest payrolls. A pitching coach prior to his work as a manager, he’s drawn praise for his work with many of the Padres’ young arms over the course of his career in the dugout.

The 32-33 Padres have yet to fully live up to expectations, although it’s tough to pin those struggles on Black. San Diego entered the season with the combination of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes to handle the team’s shortstop woes, and the outfield defense was questioned from the moment that it was announced the team would field an outfield of Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp. The team also possesses few quality left-handed bats, leaving it somewhat vulnerable to strong right-handed pitching.

Sabean, Bochy To Return, Payroll To Increase

The San Francisco Giants will bring both General Manager Brian Sabean and Manager Bruce Bochy back for the 2010 season, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sabean is completing his thirteenth season at the helm, while Bochy has been skipper for three seasons. Both have been the subject of rumors, but the unexpected challenge by the Giants for the Wild Card has likely been their savior.

Giants' Managing General Partner Bill Neukom also said he expected San Francisco's payroll to rise in 2010.

The Giants have about $28MM coming off the books for 2010, between Dave Roberts, Bengie Molina, Randy Winn and Randy Johnson. Of course, the arbitration eligibility of Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson will eat into that number significantly.

Crasnick On Remaining Free Agents

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a new article up looking at a bunch of free agents.

  • Crasnick talked to one American League exec who views Pedro Martinez as "strictly a National League pitcher."  Coupled with his price tag and long layoff, the market isn't big for Pedro.
  • Ben Sheets is weeks away from a throwing program.  He's probably a ten-start guy this year, but interest figures to be strong.
  • Jim Edmonds hopes to sign by May.  He'll need two to three weeks to get ready.  Mark Grudzielanek also wants to play, and tells friends he only needs a week.  He'll look for a contender, and the Royals will hope he signs before June so they get that supplemental draft pick.  Jacque Jones is another guy who still hopes to play.
  • Geoff Jenkins is taking grounders at first base to increase his versatility.
  • Jay Payton suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights last month, but once he's healthy a few months from now he still wants to play.
  • Nothing appears to be cooking for Frank Thomas and Luis Gonzalez, who could be forced to retire.  Dave Roberts hasn't officially retired, but a comeback appears unlikely.
  • Paul Byrd's plan remains unchanged: sign with a contender around July.
  • Jon Lieber's agent says the pitcher has retired.  131 wins, including 20 in '01.  Lieber finishes with a 4.27 ERA in 2,198 innings for the Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies.  He earned over $46MM, according to Baseball Reference.

Dave Roberts Begins Broadcasting Career

According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News:

Dave Roberts won’t be in the lineup, but he’ll be in the ballpark. Comcast added him to its broadcast team and you’ll see him on the air soon. (I’m not sure if he’ll be doing studio work, dugout reporting or what.) He’s also doing radio work in San Diego. I don’t think Roberts wants to announce his retirement officially — the Giants released him with a year on his contract, and he still believed he could contribute to another club — but for all intents and purposes, his playing days have passed. Broadcasting is a natural career move and I expect he’ll be terrific at it.

The Giants were unable to trade Roberts during the offseason, leading to his release in March.  They're assuming his $6.5MM salary for '09.  If Roberts is done, he finishes with a .266/.342/.366 line in 3,090 plate appearances for the Indians, Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres, and Giants.  He'll always be remembered for his crucial steal of second base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.

The Remaining Free Agents: Who’s Left?

With little more than a week remaining before the regular season begins let's check the list of unsigned free agents..

  • Pedro Martinez is the biggest name out there.  The Dodgers don't like  his asking price of $5MM and Omar Minaya says Pedro's not coming back to the Mets.
  • Orlando HernandezMark Mulder and Will Ohman are still on the market.
  • And don't forget about Paul Byrd and Ben Sheets, who could return midseason.  
  • Richie SexsonMark Grudzielanek and Ray Durham are some of the more interesting free agent infielders 
  • Dave Roberts and Jim Edmonds could offer outfield depth, but haven't attracted a lot of reported interest. 
  • Luis Gonzalez is on the market too. Could he return to the Marlins? He could return to the D'Backs if he retires as a player.

Odds & Ends: Holliday, Roberts, D’Backs

A few links for this afternoon…

  • Peter Gammons discusses Matt Holliday's future after the 2009 season (Insider account required). Gammons suggests that Holliday's power to center and right is best suited for Yankee Stadium, and also notes that the Red Sox and Angels may be looking for replacements for Jason Bay and Vladimir Guerrero.
  • Dave Roberts isn't 100% sure, but he's leaning towards retirement.
  • The Diamondbacks are one of 22 teams named in a grievance by the Players Association. The grievance is surrounding charitable donations as clauses in player contracts.

Brewers Rumors: Gagne, Roberts

3:48pm: McCalvy has more on the outfield topic.  The Brewers have heard from Roberts’ agent, but not Edmonds’.

2:15pm: MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy talked to Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash, who said it’d be "impossible" for reliever Eric Gagne to make the big league roster.  Gagne is getting a second opinion on his shoulder; he’s in camp on a minor league invite.  Ash added that the Brewers don’t have interest in Gagne rehabbing in the minor leagues for them.

In other Brewers news, Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the team is "keeping a casual eye on the market for outfielders since Tony Gwynn Jr. is out until further notice and Ryan Braun is gone at the World Baseball Classic."  Remaining free agents include Luis Gonzalez, Jay Payton, Dave Roberts, and Jim Edmonds.

Giants Release Dave Roberts

6:20pm: Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Brian Sabean who said he tried to trade Roberts all winter. Sabean also emphasized that the Giants are "on a path to get younger and healthier. Right now that’s not on his resume. I think the longer we went not doing something would have been an injustice to trying to find out about our own kids and giving him a chance to go somewhere else."

Rob Neyer adds that the Roberts contract is "Brian Sabean’s recent performance in a nutshell."

A month ago El Lefty Malo predicted that if Roberts were a free agent this off-season, the current baseball economy would probably force Roberts to retire. Now we get to see if this was prophetic.

1:37pm: According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants released outfielder Dave Roberts.  They’ll eat his $6.5MM salary for ’09, minus $400K if another team signs him.

Roberts was part of a string of bad signings by Giants GM Brian Sabean.  He signed a three-year, $18MM contract in December of ’06.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Pirates, Rays, Pettitte, Cubs, Dodgers, Gomes, Mauer, Cruz

On this date 28 years ago, the Red Sox traded Fred Lynn to the California Angels for Frank Tanana and Joe Rudi. After six seasons that included an MVP and six all-star appearances, the Red Sox were forced to trade Lynn when the front office failed to mail a new contract to Lynn by the mandated deadline. Without the new contract, Boston was faced with the possibility that Lynn would be declared a free agent (Carlton Fisk was declared a free agent for the same reason). The player’s association dropped their case when Lynn agreed to a contract extension with the Angels. With many of this year’s free agent class still waiting for contracts to be mailed, let’s take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere…

  • Bucco Blog sees an Adam LaRoche-Jonathan Sanchez trade as a "win-win deal."
  • DRays Bay would like to see the Tigers take either Troy Percival or Dan Wheeler off the Rays’ hands.
  • Mets Geek makes a case for the Mets signing Andy Pettitte.
  • Goat Riders of the Apocalypse are not worried that the Cubs have traded away yet another former top prospect.
  • Center Field isn’t buying that Jason Varitek didn’t know about the draft pick compensation as a result of his refusing arbitration.
  • Her Rays isn’t taking the loss of Rocco Baldelli well at all.
  • Dodger Thoughts doesn’t understand why the Dodgers keep spending money on veteran, offensively-challenged backup catchers that will never play.
  • Anaheim Angels all the way says the Reds replaced "90% of Adam Dunn" with Jonny Gomes and a very favorable contract. On Baseball and the Reds is not sure Gomes’ offense will offset his horrible defense and sees him as a decent platoon option.
  • UmpBump grades the Rays offseason favorably.
  • El Lefty Malo laments the contract of Dave Roberts and feels he is the type of player that would be forced to retire if he were a free agent this off-season.
  • Twins Geek speculates on what it would take to sign Joe Mauer to a long-term deal.
  • Bullpen Call sees only the Mets and Yankees as options for Juan Cruz.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com. If you have a suggestion for this feature, Cork can be reached here.