Q. Can you describe the process you went through to prepare for pitching Ohtani and what you got out of it?
ANDY GREEN: Yeah, we got a neat experience out of it. We would have loved to have Shohei Ohtani out of it, but I think 29 teams are probably disappointed at this point in time.
The process for us as an organization started seven years ago with Logan White and A.C. Crow scouting him and A.J. Preller scouting him. There was a lot of history there. A history that we hoped led to a level of connection that brought him to San Diego.
But once we get past the initial pitch, the information packet we sent in, the opportunity to sit down -- we spent two quality hours with him and didn't end up making the connection, but felt really good about what our team put together, and there's definitely a lot of energy in it. Three or four all-nighters in the mix there to make sure we had everything lined up the way we wanted.
We have some incredibly valuable Japanese members of our organization. Hideo Nomo, Takashi Saito, Seiichiro Nakagaki. Those guys were part of it, and they're incredibly valued people. I thought they were a huge value add there. We would have loved to come away with him. For us, it's regroup, move forward, and keep going.
Q. Without revealing too much, what were some of the selling points?
ANDY GREEN: I think there's a lot of reasons to feel like the fit was right. I think we're always up against that concept of he's DH'd and pitched over the last couple of years. When he had his success, that was something we had no ability to offer him, being a National League club. So it was always working against us in that regard.
We felt the time line fit was right. The opportunity was there to pitch and play a position. I would assume that everybody made a very convincing pitch. A lot of really intelligent organizations were working on the same thing, and only one's coming away with the prize.
Q. Do you think that gives you confidence next year if there's another Japanese player that wants to come over that you've gone through this process at that level?
ANDY GREEN: I think we're positioned to support Japanese players in a way that other organizations are not. These guys I mentioned are legends in Japan and legends here too. They're tremendous people. Takashi Saito jumps off the page. You look at spring training, and he's shining shoes for players. This guy is an impressive man to me. I love the guy to death. And Nomo is Nomo.
I think we're positioned well to help him. I don't think another process like what went down with Ohtani is going to go down again in the future. I think dollars are going to be a big selling point in the future.
This is one of those times where dollars are out the window and it was more connection than anything else. I think it was a unique process. I know we'll continue to be active players in that market, though.
Q. Third baseman, starting pitcher, where can you tell us they might fit in?
ANDY GREEN: I think there's real excitement bringing Brian Mitchell in. He's a guy we believed, for a few years, we heard our front office and scouts talk about him for a few years. He's the guy that got caught in the interstate between Scranton and New York and didn't get sufficient opportunity. Pitched in the bullpen, pitched in a starter's role every now and again. They were never able to give him the consistent opportunity which we think he'll thrive in.
So he's going to come over here and pitch in the rotation for us. He's going to get a real chance to pitch, and I think sometimes the change of scenery, going from New York to San Diego changes things, and also just, hey, man, there's belief in you here. We're going to run you out there and give you an opportunity.
We see him being in the rotation. We think his stuff plays there. Talking to him yesterday, he was very excited to be a Padre and very excited for the opportunity that looks like it out in front of him.
In Chase Headley's case, bringing a guy back who had a lot of success there. I think a lot of people made this out to be like the Brian Mitchell acquisition. Chase Headley would have had the highest on base percentage on our team last year. Something we value to a high degree. Had a very solid offensive season. I think he had the second highest OPS on our team last year. He still brings a lot of things to the table.
My conversation with him yesterday was a pro's pro conversation. I'll do whatever I can to help the club, do whatever I can to help move young guys along, happy to be back in San Diego, loved my time there.
It was really impressive, all the while understanding we have quite a few third basemen currently and quite a few opportunities to see how that unfolds over the next few weeks. But assuming he is in a Padre uniform, I'm genuinely excited to have him. I think A.J. has been very forthright with him, and we've been very forthright. Things will probably shake out here over the next few weeks and we'll figure what our roster looks like a little bit more.
Q. Solarte, his strongest position is third, played some second, played some short. How do you see his role going into 2018?
ANDY GREEN: He brings true positional versatility for us, especially between second and third base. Being the type of guy he is, his willingness to embrace that, for me as a manager, is always very comforting. Never had anything thrown up the day before, you're going to play third tomorrow and second the next day. He bounced around willingly and wantingly. He did a great job at shortstop despite his limited exposure there. If you look at some metrics, they're going to shock you of the way he played at that position.
That versatility is huge for us because we don't have most of our other pieces. Carlos Asuaje is locked in at second base. Spangenberg could bounce from third to second and out to left. Kind of the other guys are limited. Christian Villanueva is going to play third base. Chase Headley is going to play third, might bounce to first.
We're big fans of Solie, have been for a long time. It's a real at bat from the left-hand side. He handles velo, hits all over the park. Comes with a smile and energy to the ballpark. He's the pulse of our team, so we value him highly. I foresee him being a key contributor going into next year.
Q. When you said Asuaje is locked into second, do you mean it's his job to lose or that's the only position you're comfortable playing him?
ANDY GREEN: I think that's his position. I wouldn't say at this point in time to lose. I think it's going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds. I think we're trying to create a culture of belief in our players but also a culture of competition. I think guys push each other to be great, and he'll be right in the mix with that.
There's a young guy in Luis Arias who's breathing down his neck right now to get to the big leagues that plays at second base, as well, and plays some short. You've got Spangenberg can bounce over there. Solarte can bounce over there.
It's a muddy picture trying to figure out how our roster fits together. But I think where we're at is bring in as much talent as you possibly can and we'll sort it out.
Q. Hunter Renfroe had real high ups and some low downs, getting demoted to AAA at one point. What's your overall assessment of his rookie season, and what do you need to see moving into 2018?
ANDY GREEN: As a coaching staff, one of the things you really want to do with your players is raise awareness and transfer ownership. Raise awareness of like what you want your players to do and then transfer ownership to them to actually get it done. You don't get to stand in the box and create plate discipline for a guy, but you can raise awareness how much you value that move at that time of the year to send him down was an attempt to raise awareness.
We believe in this enough, hey, go down to the minor leagues. Let's work on plate discipline. Let's work on defense in the outfield.
It's ludicrous pop. I mean it's the ability to leave the ballpark wherever you want. It's unbelievable arm strength. Tons of athleticism. The ceiling is still incredibly high. To get to that ceiling, plate discipline has to be a huge part of his growth. I think we raised that awareness last year. I think he got that message, and I saw some marked improvement in like some key indicators that say like he's moving in the right direction. I think those things are exciting for us.
He's going to be a challenge for that position. That's just the reality of where we are right now. A.J.'s always going to be opportunistic in acquiring more talent, but you got Jose Pirela, who was great in the outfield. Alex Dickerson, who was our most professional at bat two years ago, missed all of last year, coming back. Cordero is dominating in the Dominican Winter League right now. There's going to be real competition out there. I think we all value Hunter highly. Go out there and fight, man.
Q. To follow up, Renfroe's scouting reports defensively were always glowing throughout the minor league career. Hasn't translated to the majors. Where do you see the issues with him defensively?
ANDY GREEN: Locked in and first step. Like how passionate is your pre-pitch? How involved are you in every pitch? When he has that high level of focus, he's great out there. We brought Skip Schumacher onto the staff this year. If I know anything about Skip, he's going to be passionate about guys doing that and doing that religiously, and you hope, like what I said earlier, you raise awareness of this is important. If he's locked in and he's taking a quick first step because he's locked in, he's going to defend the position really well.
I think sometimes he wants to show you the raw tool a lot, which is the arm. It's fun to watch when a guy hits the ball down the first base line, he catches and spins and fires to second base, unlike any other big leaguer in the game. That's fun. But the real difference is made how locked are you on every pitch and how good is your first step on every pitch? That's definitely the focal point for him.
Q. Andy, players in this generation, physically they're bigger and stronger than previous generations?
ANDY GREEN: Bigger than me?
Q. Most of them are. You're in the previous generation. The players are bigger and stronger, but given all the information, do you think modern day players also understand the game better than previous generations? Or is that a false thought?
ANDY GREEN: I think they probably understand the analytical -- the analog better than the previous generation. The vernacular of the day has changed. The intricacies of the game sometimes are swept away, and guys don't pay as much attention to the fine details that matter to winning baseball games. They can probably talk about launch angle, exit velo, what your runs created are that the previous generation couldn't. That doesn't mean they're more tuned in with how to execute in a key moment in the game.
I think it's different. They're definitely bigger, faster, stronger. There's no doubt about that. I think that's just the natural progression of sports in general, and there's a ton of talent there. But there was real dialogue when I was coming up as to how you executed under pressure in key situations, and that's been probably drowned out a little bit by the technical noise of how to create a launch angle with your swing. That's kind of where the focus has changed. I think there's a great balance to strike there, and we try to strike it just like every organization does.
Q. Four years ago, or actually three years ago, we were out here talking about how offense had cratered in baseball and people were talking about how speed was going to become a big part of the game, and instead it's gone to power. Why do you think that happened? What role does speed play in today's game?
ANDY GREEN: Speed's a valuable commodity in the game. The power has changed the way the game's played. I think a lot of it too is just the raw power of pitching velocity. Where we choose to attack hitters now, it is much easier to elevate fastballs at the top of the strike zone, which more teams are going to attacking guys there because there's a higher probability of a swing and a miss up there. So now you're attacking in a region where if you make a mistake, it's more likely to be a home run. So I think that's kind of changed.
As far as speed, we try to take advantage of it. I think we have some from a skill set perspective that we can utilize, but the reality is when Stanton or judge hit the ball out of the ballpark, they don't really need to be very fast. Like our guys might be able to draw a walk, steal second, it's a lot easier just to jack the ball sometimes the way it is today.
Q. William Myers has spoken about his preference for first base. In the event he's asked to move to the outfield, what challenges do you see for him there, and how do you think you guys would handle it?
ANDY GREEN: The thing I learned about Wil, he wants to win, and that's been refreshing in dialogue we've had throughout the off-season. A willingness to help us engage whoever we're targeting in order to bring more talent to the organization, and a willingness to move to accommodate that talent if it gives us a better shot at winning. When your big time player is willing to be that type of a guy, it sets a real good cultural tone for everybody. So it's really appreciated he's that way.
And I think the other thing about Wil is he takes to new challenges very well. I think he took to the first base challenge really well two years ago. If he's being honest, which he's incredibly honest and transparent, so I don't feel bad saying this, he probably grew a little bored with the challenge last year. I did this. I dominated first base. Lost a measure of focus on it and attention to detail he needs to ratchet up.
I think, if we asked him to move to an outfield position, the newness of moving back out there and the way he's challenged by Skip, he'd embrace that and grow from that. He's incredibly athletic. He'd be great out there.
Q. Do you have a preference for either corner that he plays?
ANDY GREEN: Probably predicated on the roster. It's too muddy waters right now to really understand where he would be best. That's the beauty of it. I have to act like I have an answer for you guys in the middle of December, but I really don't have to have an answer until much later. We'll pretend to have it right now, but one or the other. Not sooner, though.
Q. Three teams ahead of you all qualified for the playoffs in your division. Talk about the challenge of trying to with three teams in front of you that all qualified for the postseason.
ANDY GREEN: And the other team won three World Series in the last seven years or something. So, yeah, that team's not bad either. And they're retooling aggressively as well.
I don't know this for a fact. I'll let you guys do this. But I'm guessing we played more games against playoff teams than any other team in baseball last year. When you've got three of them in your division, I'm pretty sure that's the case. I think we were right up there with wins against playoff teams last year. We got to test ourselves against the best competition in the game, which is exciting when you're trying to build something.
I think just like the way you're wired as a competitor, you want the best in your division, like you want to unseat them. We have to get better. We have to execute at a higher clip. We have to continue to bring in more talent. We have to raise the culture of expectation as an organization to catch up to those guys. But for me, like I love it, like all three of them are legit teams and the other one is a legit team. You want your guys to be wired that way to love that.
Q. When you guys were pursuing Ohtani, how concerning, if at all, was the elbow condition?
ANDY GREEN: I'd love to really like dive into that. I don't feel it's great to talk about the medicals of other teams. We were excited about Ohtani whatever he came in with. We were very excited about him and weren't particularly concerned of anything he'd been through in the short term.
Q. Would you have been prepared to do a six-man rotation? How do you feel in general about the idea of guys throwing fewer innings and spread it around. Is a six-man rotation something we could see in this game?
ANDY GREEN: The unique thing he provided a club was the ability to have a bat and a six-man rotation so you weren't hampered by roster constraints. He was very unique in making that easier to do and not handcuffing a manager.
Most of our young guys that we're going to rely on to be big time starters for us in the future, they're coming up in a six-man rotation system. And if we -- we introduced it in September last year, which is probably common for a lot of clubs that aren't in contention to do that.
If there's not a disparity between your 1 and 6 at the level there is with most teams, there's reason to do it because the rest is probably really good for guys. I thought he would have fit very well with our plan to do that, and he would have made it easier to actually do that. As time unfolds, I think like we'll definitely explore that possibility of utilizing a lot of these young arms in a six-man rotation?
Q. I think you mentioned --
ANDY GREEN: Without him even -- we were honest in that dialogue with him that this is something we've discussed regardless of you. You weren't necessarily the impetus for wanting to do this, but Cal Quantrill and Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer and Jacob Nix in that first wave of talent, and de la Santos, those guys coming up, it would serve them well early in their career to be in that type of environment if we can pull it off.
Q. Do you think the game would get to that? It used to be four. It's been five for a long time. Do you think we'll get to six?
ANDY GREEN: It's tough on a 25-man roster. It's where you're handcuffed to a large degree based on, if a guy gives you three innings one night and you blow through the bullpen and you need another arm and you're already playing with a short bench, and you've got to go find that other piece that allows to you keep a six-man rotation. You have to basically run that train between your AAA club and your big league club very aggressively to pull that off. So you need organizational depth.
You look at the clubs that are contending in the postseason, the Dodgers we've stared at a lot, they have a ton of organizational depth. They could run the train in a way we couldn't because the dropoff was fairly substantial.
Q. There's been an influx of young guys, 21, 22, that have had a pretty good run. When you have young guys, we might see the stats, but you see body language every day. You see when things aren't going well. Can you just talk a little bit about the expectation. The bar seems to be raised, if you're a young guy you should be able to play, and they're really rare. You see the numbers and the guys' stuff a little bit, you see maybe how it takes a toll on a guy who has probably had success his whole life.
ANDY GREEN: It's a great question. It's based on the internal wiring of the individual. Manny Margo in the big leagues this year, he could go against the best in the world and get beat, and he's fine the next day. He's wired right. He's wired, hey, you can knock me down, but I'm coming back. I'm going to keep coming.
When you know the individual, you know if they're really wired correctly to be able to endure that. If they're not, you probably have to be a little bit more protective and play him a little bit slower otherwise.
We do think we have a couple of young position players coming at the upper levels of our minor leagues now that are wired that way. They're not just going to be okay with the challenge. They're actually going to thrive because of the challenge. It comes to knowing your individuals, knowing your players, and reading their body language as they go through it because through the course of the season, if you're paying attention as a manager, I need to talk to that guy right now. He needs like an arm around him. He needs a conversation.
When I think of my staff, like Glenn Hoffman is unbelievable at it. He has such a good radar for -- I've seen young guys struggle since 1980s when I was managing in the big league, and like this guy needs a conversation. He has a way of putting an arm around the guy and building them up and making them feel ten feet tall.
Darren Balsley does that very well. Your staff has to have their antenna up to help the young guys.
Q. What about your veteran guys? You want them to have the ability to help to win games, but do you also see the values of having these guys, if it's not a coach, it's that guy?
ANDY GREEN: Tremendous value. We've been for the last year predominantly a staff-driven culture. A lot of that is built because of our roster. Where other teams have gone out and added the Daniel Descalso's of the world or Chase Utley, we're plucking rule 5 guys because we're in talent acquisition mode, and those guys have huge value in the future.
But Chase Utley or Daniel Descalso or Schumacher, when he was playing, those guys aren't on the bench to foster the type of discussion that buoys young guys. I think we're transitioning from being away from that mode to now having some guys that we can really rely on to build up our young guys. We can layer in some free agents that are going to partner with the staff in building culture, and you just pass ownership over to them.
We just haven't quite been in that spot yet. Love the guys we have. They just lack experience. Put Chase Headley on the roster now, he literally has twice the big league experience as anyone on our roster. There's value in that. There's value the type of person he is when, immediately after playing ten years in the big leagues, tell me how I can help your guys. That's on his radar.
When you trade for Brian Mitchell, that's not on Brian Mitchell's radar. His radar is I've got to establish myself. That's right. There's nothing wrong with that. But there's huge value in a guy coming over, what about your other 24 guys? What can I do to add value?
Me, as a manager, I'm hungry for those guys. That makes my job considerably easier and changes the direction for us. We're excited about him and excited about any other veteran we choose to layer in this off-season. It makes things easier.
Q. In 2016, Ohtani was batting in your Spring Training camp. I know a lot of your staff got to watch him hit and were pretty impressed. Did you get to see him, and did you get any reports from that spring?
ANDY GREEN: Yeah, had two springs with us in Peoria. The second one, nobody went down to see anything. It's my understanding he was hurt and wasn't even participating. I saw him the previous year. It takes two seconds to see the pop. I mean, I don't want to sit here and be effusive in praise of another team's player right now, but I leaned on the cage and saw him hit. I wasn't having conversations with him on the field or anything, but it's real pop. It's going to play.
And you would assume there's going to be a learning curve, as there will anybody else. I went to Japan. I was attacked differently as a hitter over there than I was here in the States. There's differences. I'm sure it will take him a while to acclimate. That will be to the Angels how they help him through the process.
Q. What kind of opportunities are there going to be for Jose Pirela with Dickerson coming back, Wil maybe moving to the outfield, some of the other depth you have there?
ANDY GREEN: Based on what he did last year, I'm a fool if I don't find him a way to get him opportunity. He was our most consistent offensive performer. He plays with passion and energy. For the most part, right around the time he came up or slightly thereafter, we played .500 ball the rest of the year. It's not like, oh, look at us, we're playing .500 ball. It's not clearly a goal. But for a team that started 15-30 before he showed up to the team we were after him, I think his energy and his skill kind of transformed who we were.
So he has some positional versatility. His skill is with the bat on the offensive side of the game. But his desire to work hard is really unparalleled. Like he gets after it on defense. If it's second base, if it's left field, if it's right field, wherever that spot ends up being for him, like I'm certain he's going to work his tail off to be as good as he can be, and I have a ton of confidence in the bat for him.
So he's a hard guy not to love when you watch him play the game. I love cheering for the guys that kind of like didn't get the opportunity and weren't the marquee prospects, and then you look up, and like this guy's turned himself into a real big leaguer. He fits that description.
Q. Back a while ago, and I don't know how far back, you picked starters that didn't look like they were going to be starters in the major leagues and put them in the bullpen. Do you think there's a chance that you might see a little more of that? We've already got them. We should know them better than anybody else. If put them in the pen at a controllable number and see if we can have success that way?
ANDY GREEN: Yeah. I think, when you start looking at the prices guys are going off the board for in the free agent market right now for relievers, it's as high as I remember seeing it. When it's not the marquee closer name, these guys are getting paid and paid very well.
We have a host of internal options within the organization that are starters at the AA level that could easily transition to the bullpen. You look at de la Santos, he's throwing 98 as a starter. If you check our prospect list, like this guy's down the list, but a lot of other places, he'd be at the top of their list.
You've got Cal Quantrill and Joey Lucchese and Eric Lauer and probably look at those guys to start, but if they fall off, if one turns into Brad Hand, who was a converted starter, that's a great problem to have. I think we're going to have numbers.
I think A.J. and the scouting department have been unbelievable in acquiring depth at the pitching position. In very short order, organizations are going to start realizing they've got a lot of real arms over there, and not a lot of teams can say that.
We'll convert those guys, and I'm certain there will be some of those guys we trade eventually too to help us get the position players we need.
Q. Organizationally, is there a person or two that's responsible for maybe saying now's the time we take that guy from the starter's role and let's find out if he can actually come out of the pen?
ANDY GREEN: I think we're by nature a very collaborative organization. So Mark Prior, our pitching coordinator, has a hand in it. Sam Geaney is our farm director. A.J., his by nature is to talk to everybody on the periphery of it and ask them their opinion and try to consolidate those opinions into action. So I tend to be a part of those conversations as well, which I enjoy, not from a need to make the decision perspective, but fun to be a part of those because they're a big part of our future.
I think it's a collaborative process with kind of those guys spear heading it.
Q. You probably heard the term "prestige value" recently. I know you can't get into specifics with potential targets, but can you think of one or two players that have done that and elevate the entire clubhouse and have a tangible effect on a team winning too?
ANDY GREEN: Yeah, I think so. It can happen from that person being your marquee player or that person being a peripheral starter or that person being a bench guy. You can find that value of guys who have been there and done that, and they can fit in different spots on your team. So you're not necessarily relegated to it having to be your marquee player, your number one player. But those guys have been there and done that. I think players in general tend to listen to that guy.
As much as you want to pretend like you connect with everybody as a manager of a club, they like listening to their peers more than they like listening to an authoritative voice sometimes. Those peers can be a huge asset in establishing culture and direction. And I think we'll continue to look through the market to find out who fits those descriptions and recognize that layering those guys in is going to add value to the Austin Hedges and the Manny Margot of our club.
Q. Hedges is a guy who his entire life has been a great defender, not sure about the bat. He showed some pop last year, but .214 with a .260 something on base. How much better do you think he can realistically become offensively?
ANDY GREEN: First thing you look at when you ask that question is how's this guy wired? Is he wired to want to improve? There's probably only a handful of guys in the game that are outworking Austin Hedges right now. There's not many. He's wired to work. He's hungry to get better. I think, as he continues to get more cerebral with how he's attacking hitters, he's going to get a better understanding of how he's being attacked. I think that education will only serve him well.
There's real pop in the bat. I can see 25 home runs coming out of him. They're not small home runs when he hits them. It's just a matter of how well he's seeing the baseball. I think you get down to mechanically where he was last year, it was kind of a two-part swing with substantial head movement which limited his ability to read pitches.
I think like Matt Stairs will be working hard to smooth that out with him and hopefully put him in a position to be really successful at seeing the baseball. If he loads and reads the ball, he's going to hit. If he's moving to try to read the ball, it's not a good combo for him, and that's where some of the chase and strikeouts come from.
I think Austin's going to keep getting better and better. I couldn't be more excited about having him.
Q. A little bit of a roster situation with the rule 5 guys you carry. Have you enjoyed the challenges in bringing those guys along and making them fit in the major league environment?
ANDY GREEN: Yeah, everybody's unique. So each rule 5 guy presents a unique challenge. I think you look up and Luis Perdomo has been in our rotation two years now. I look at Luis Torrens, and I can see that guy being a front-runner in the big leagues. Not going to happen right now, but he's playing really well in Venezuela. He had some confidence in himself.
You see the rule 5 guys that show up, and they're wide eyed and apprehensive about the huge change in environment. Everybody's wired different, but I think at the end of it, we've made seven picks in my two years managing. I think I'm the only manager that stays around for the rule 5 draft because that's how half my team was formed over the last couple of years.
I think we're migrating away from that pattern of behavior. I'm not saying we're not going to participate or are going to participate, but I don't see us popping four names. I think we're getting roster constraints that make that really hard to do, which is a good problem. People are going to start talking about our guys in the rule 5 rather than us taking everybody else's guys.
I think the guys we brought back all have value, and it makes unique challenges for a manager. I think some of the issue of you look at run differentials for us last year. We won 71 games. Our run differential probably said we should have run less. A lot of that is predicated on guys from A ball and rookie ball jumping to the big leagues, and it's a heck of a learning curve, but I think the experience serves them all well.
Q. You mentioned Matt Stairs. The philosophy you want him to bring, the differences that you'd like to see him as far as a hitting instructor and the approach?
ANDY GREEN: I think fit is as important as anything when you hire a big league hitting coach because the reality is a vast majority of them command the knowledge of the swing. He obviously has the experience. But fit in that I'm not necessarily giving him the philosophy to follow, but his philosophy resonates with me, and it lines up perfectly with what we're trying to do. He wants to develop stubborn hitters that don't come off the pitch they're looking for, and like pass the baton well and willing to take the walk and drive the ball gap to gap.
It's not rocket science, but there's a simplicity in the way he communicates that message that resonated with me, and I think will resonate well with our players.
There's also the understanding, like I did it for 19 years. It's pretty impressive. He was a big leaguer for 19 seasons. I think that cache probably helps a little bit to get guys to listen a little bit more. At the end of the day, it's the substance of a man that matters a little more than the experience of a man. He's got both of those. Those are good things to check the balance of.
Q. His personality, Skip's personality, how is that going to mesh with your coaching staff?
ANDY GREEN: I think tremendously well. I've been in a two-year process for courting Skip Schumacher to be on the coaching staff. That was one of my best recruiting jobs. It required a whole family to get the man. Just having him in Spring Training when I first took over, you understand that every players respects him. One, because he's authentic; two, he's honest; three, because he knows what he's talking about.
I think he's going to be really adept at improving our outfielders, really adept at helping build a culture of hard work, and really adept at attention to detail on the base pads. I feel great about that, and I kind of praise Stairsy a little bit too. I think he's going to fit in nice.
We also brought in Josh Johnson to help out with the infielders. You're going to hear him in the clubhouse. We look for some energy. Josh is going to bring a ton of energy. Got a guy out of coaching in rookie ball, managing in rookie ball, and he comes with some real energy. He's going to make you smile, and I think through the dog days of summer, he's going to be a fungi to be on the field working with.
Q. You referenced Margot a few times while also mentioning a lot of moving pieces. Is he the one guy, maybe the only guy along with Hedges, that I know will be at this spot in my starting lineup on opening day?
ANDY GREEN: Yeah, I feel pretty good about him being in centerfield for us. I feel good about Austin being behind the plate. We brought a minor league free agent, Raffi Lopez, to come in and compete with Rocky Gale and maybe some other people in the catcher's mix.
I think Raffi Lopez is actually a really intriguing guy to me too. If you've watched his progression, he sees the baseball, he receives well, he wins the bottom of the strike zone well, and he's real pop. A left-handed bat that pairs with Hedges might be nice.
I feel pretty good first day of the season saying Manny will be out in center and Austin will be behind the plate. Those are good things to have accomplished. After that, your guess is as good as mine right now.