Pat Murphy Will Not Return as Padres Manager in 2016

A mere hours after the San Diego Padres season ended with a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres officially announced that interim manager Pat Murphy would not be returning in the same capacity in 2016. What is left unclear is whether Murphy will return to the Padres in another capacity, perhaps retaking his position as the the manager of the Padres Triple-A affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas. For the Padres, this was seemingly a foregone conclusion given how the roster failed to respond to the new coach after the firing of Bud Black in early June.

On June 15th, following a 32-33 start to the season, amid sky-high expectations with the extreme makeover the Padres roster went through during the offseason, the Padres relieved manager Bud Black of his managerial duties. Following a quick coaching “search,” the Padres promoted then Triple-A manager Pat Murphy to be the interim manager of the big league club for the remainder of the season. The hope for the change was the Padres would respond better to Murphy than they did to Black, and would still maintain a chance of turning the season around.

Things did not go as AJ Preller and the front office had hoped. After the 32-33 start, the Padres finished the season 42-54 (which does not include the one game the Padres lost under interim manager Dave Roberts) under interim manager Pat Murphy. This included the Padres losing 21 out of their final 31 games to finish in fourth place in the National League West with their worst record since 2011.

Not much of the Padres poor performance this year can really be blamed on Pat Murphy. Murphy was brought into a bad position to begin with, and is now taking the fall for a poor team that he did not construct. Murphy didn’t really excel as a manager and the Padres seemed to flounder under his leadership. It’s nothing against Murphy as a manager or as a human being, but the Padres desperately need a change for 2016.

Going forward, the Padres will be one of the more interesting teams to watch in the offseason, both in free agency and in the trade market as well as in the coaching search. In terms of options at manager, the two most likely names appear to be former skipper Ron Washington, and former Padre player and current Triple-A manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate, Phil Nevin. Beyond those two, others such as Ron Gardenhire and Dusty Baker may get some consideration.

AJ Preller shocked the world when he remade the Padres roster from top to bottom, with hopes of the playoffs on everyone’s minds. Those hopes were quickly dashed when reality set in, and both Bud Black and Pat Murphy took the fall for those unattainable expectations. It remains to be seen whether Murphy will be brought back in any capacity to the Padres but either way both he and Bud Black will find jobs in baseball once again. Neither Bud Black or Pat Murphy are to blame for the Padres 2015 disaster, but someone had to take the blame.

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