The San Diego Padres have officially announced they are moving on from interim manager Pat Murphy. With that the front office is now in the process of looking for the team’s first full-time manager since the Padres hired Bud Black over nine years ago.
In speaking to the media last Monday morning at Petco Park, A.J. Preller indicated that the team is looking for someone to get their players to a championship level. He also indicated that the team didn’t have a winning dynamic this year, but that will change. He is certainly right in this assessment.
The Philosophy of the Padres is growing and changing. The process is not something that can be ratified overnight, however. It will take time, and the next step is finding a general on the field who shares the same philosophies as the present front office.
A.J. Preller will have complete reign in choosing a manager. He will get direct opinions from assistant general managers Josh Stein and Fred Uhlman as well as scouting director Don Welke and head scout Logan White. The team is wisely utilizing a strategy that embraces baseball analytics, but at the same time peers into the heart and soul of a player. The willingness to grow as a player and adapt is a great indication of worth that cannot be recorded by a simple stat.
A.J. Preller is looking for “someone who has patience, energy; someone who can establish a winning culture.” Not an easy task but the first time general manager, is surely going to do all his homework when tracking down his new skipper. The new manager will have a say in the coaching staff as well. The current staff and their contracts expire on October. With that being said, the team would probably like to have a new manager in place by Halloween. Things should heat up rather quickly in regards to naming a new manager in Padreland.
The Padres 2015 season, in which the team finished 74-88, was a huge disappointment. Even worse is the team lost 21 out of its last 31 games. With all seriousness the team played with no heart the last month of the season. To say that this team underachieved is a complete understatement. The team was 42-54 under Pat Murphy and clearly had to move on from the skipper.
Murphy brought a lot of positives to the table. He said the right things often, but his constant lineup changes and lack of experience was exposed. He would make an excellent bench coach or manager’s right hand man. The Padres would likely want him to return in that capacity, but ultimately the new hire will have a say in who his coaching staff will be. The potential list of managers is long, as the team looks to find a face to their new regime.
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was rumored to be of interest to the Padres, but the Tigers have announced they intend to bring Ausmus back for the 2016 season and beyond. It is not clear if he was ever a candidate, but it appears he is off-limits. Ausmus had no ties to the new ownership group so he was never really a shoe-in for the job.
Ron Washington is someone to keep an eye on. He and A.J. Preller have had a great working relationship as both formerly worked in the Texas Rangers organization. Washignton was the Rangers manager for the team’s last two World Series appearances (2009 & 2013). He currently works for the Oakland Athletics organization and will likely be brought in for an interview.
The names of Phil Nevin and Andy Green have both come up in recent days. Both are under contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Green was the team’s third base coach this season while Nevin served as the team’s AAA manager. Nevin has a torrid history as a Padres player and would surely command respect from his players. The former #1 overall pick (1992), struggled to make it in the Major Leagues and has a lot of character. Nevin was the Tigers AAA manager from 2010-2013 before taking over in 2014 as the Diamondbacks AAA manager. Nevin was a .270 career hitter with 208 Major League home runs.
Andy Green is a 38-year-old coach who recently worked in the Diamondbacks Minor League organization. He led the Missoula Osprey to the Pioneer League Championship in 2012 and 2013. He was also named the Southern League manager of the year in 2014. The first manager to ever win that award in consecutive seasons. He was described as a versatile player who could play all over the field. He only batted 230 times in the Major Leagues and hit .200 over parts of four Major League seasons with the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Nevin has managerial experience in both the Tigers and Diamondbacks organization. He also played for the Padres and had his greatest numbers as a Friar. He makes his home in San Diego and has always made it known that he loves the Padres. With Nevin as skipper, the team would be held accountable. It isn’t clear how Nevin’s gruff personality would work with established All-Star players like James Shields, Craig Kimbrel and Matt Kemp. The addition of Nevin could be fantastic or it could be a catastrophe. There probably is no middle ground if he got the job.
Some interesting names have come up as potential candidates, each are former catchers in the big leagues. Jason Varitek and Sandy Alomar Jr. had great success in the Major Leagues, and it is no secret that catchers make excellent Major League managers. Alomar was a former Padres catcher, who was dealt in December of 1989 with Chris James and Carlos Baerga for Joe Carter. He went on to have a nice career in Cleveland and helped lead the Indians to many playoff appearances. Vartiek is a former Boston Red Sox catcher who is described as a great leader. He has no direct ties to the team other that Padres president Mike Dee. It is not clear if he is a serious candidate.
Veteran managers Dusty Baker and Ozzie Guillen have also been mentioned, but Baker was ruled out by some sources within the team. Baker is known to be very rough on pitchers and young players. Not the type of leader the team is currently looking for. Guillen is an interesting choice with his managerial experience. He led the 2005 Chicago White Sox to a World Series title and has a very fiery attitude. He failed miserably in Miami in 2012 when the Marlins hired him, but the teams failures were not all Guillen’s fault. A 69-93 record in his only season in Miami was not how Guillen envisioned it. Guillen was originally drafted by the Padres but was dealt to the White Sox in December 1984 in a deal for Lamarr Hoyt.
Recently the names of Joey Cora, Alex Cora and Aaron Boone have also surfaced as potential interviews. It is unclear what the Padres will do. The team will likely conduct a series of interviews with several candidates before narrowing down the search to a few. The process should expedite rather quickly once the team able to formally meet with each person. Dave Roberts is another name to keep an eye on. The team will likely interview him, but it is not clear if he has the experience the team is looking for.
The Padres are in search of a skipper for the next six to eight years minimum. They want a manager who can guide this team and help turn around this franchise. Not an easy task at all, but if the team wants to get back to relevancy, they need a general on the field that commands respect. A Padres way needs to be established in order for this franchise to be taken serious. Hopefully A.J. Preller finds a man who exemplifies what the organization intends to become.