Padres hand Black plenty of green
National League West leaders extend manager's contract through 2013
In four-plus seasons as manager of the San Diego Padres, Bud Black has dealt with his closer leaving town, his ace being traded and a change in owners and general managers.
Despite all that, he's got his surprising Padres playing so well they've been atop the National League West much of the season and have the NL's best record.
On Monday, the Padres rewarded Black with a three-year contract extension through 2013, with club options for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
"There are a lot of challenging decisions that have to be made day to day; this was not a tough one," co-owner Jeff Moorad said. "If there ever was an easy decision to extend the manager, this was it.
"Bud epitomizes what we're doing with the club, both today as well as going forward."
The Padres, who were off Monday before starting a series at NL East-leading Atlanta on Tuesday, have a four-game lead over the Colorado Rockies. Their 54-37 record is third-best in the big leagues, behind the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
San Diego took over first place in the NL West on April 20 and has been out of the lead only a total of three days since then.
"I think Bud and his staff deserve an awful lot of credit for helping mould and guide this club to this point," Moorad said. "Bud was always one of the smarter players on the field.
"It's not a surprise that he's as masterful at handling everything from the play-calling to the player transactions, as skillfully as he does."
'I still think like a player'
Black, a left-hander, pitched in the big leagues for 15 seasons.
"I still think like a player," Black said Monday. "I think that benefits me in a lot of ways.
"I think about today. I'm thinking about today's game."
Black said that's how he dealt with closer Trevor Hoffman leaving as a free agent after the 2008 season, ace Jake Peavy being traded last summer, Moorad's group buying the team from John Moores and Jed Hoyer being hired after GM Kevin Towers was fired at the end of last season.
"You're mentally conditioned to handle these things when they occur," Black said. "It's part of, again, the background and experience you learn as a player and the things you go through as a player, whether it's free agency, arbitration, being traded, being sent down to minor leagues.
"All those things form a foundation to how you react to things as you move into your career."
Black was hired after Bruce Bochy left to manage the division rival San Francisco Giants following the 2006 season. Black is 281-297 as the Padres' skipper. The Padres were 89-74 in his first season, including an epic 13-inning loss at Colorado in the wild-card tiebreaker game.
San Diego skidded to a 63-99 finish in 2008. It was in last place most of 2009 before going on a 37-25 run to finish the season at 75-87, leapfrogging Arizona into fourth place.
Moorad said he's "thrilled" at Black's relationship with Hoyer, the first-year GM who was hired in November.
"I think it continues to be a real strength of the organization," Moorad said.
"This news comes at a time when the team is playing well, but my faith in Bud goes far beyond wins and losses," Hoyer said. "He and his staff are exceptionally well prepared, he embraces the challenge of teaching young players and, most importantly, the players compete for him every night."
Black said he's had a good relationship with Hoyer from the start.
"I could tell immediately that he had a plan," Black said. "He has exhibited a nice, solid vision for this organization."