I told the Doogster that it wasn't going to be a slam dunk. It wasn't. Bud Black nonetheless is Manager of the Year, as I wrote about here. A few quick hits:
* Black wasn't perfect. In today's story, I again mentioned a few glitches to his performance this year.
* Jerry Hairston Jr. greatly admires Dusty Baker, who finished a close second in the voting. Yet when Hairston sized up the race late in the season, he wondered how anyone but Black could win the award.
* Twice in his four seasons as a manager, Black has come within one victory of reaching the playoffs. What, if anything, does that say about him? That'll be a story for spring training. In a recent column, West Coast Bias asked: If Bruce Bochy had managed the Padres in 2007, would they have won a playoff berth? Remember, Black hadn't managed at any level when he succeeded Bochy going into 2007.
* The Reds' visit to San Diego late in the season might have pushed Black over the top. Two of the Reds' writers told me then that until they got to San Diego, they weren't all that knowledgeable about the job that both Black and the Padres had done. They were shocked to learn that the payroll was as so low.
On an unrelated note, Jeff Moorad hasn't responded to my query regarding Josh Byrnes and whether Moorad will hire him. It's been two weeks now since I left the message. You don't think Moorad is ducking me, do you?
Now that college basketball is up to speed, the Villanova man may be too busy to talk baseball.
Yet I wouldn't be surprised if Moorad and Byrnes reached an understanding months ago. Many folks in baseball have been speculating that Byrnes, the former D-Backs general manager, will end up in San Diego's front office. "He's like a son to Jeff," said one ballplayer familiar with their relationship. We should all have fathers who treat us so nicely. After hiring Byrnes, Moorad gave him an eight-year extension. The D'Backs fired Byrnes this summer. Within a week later Byrnes was at Petco Park.
Byrnes, who has family ties to San Diego, is a friend of Jed Hoyer dating to their time together inside The Matrix as assistants to Theo Epstein.