Padres’ Potential Candidates for New Manager

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With Jayce Tingler’s release well behind the ball club and fans, rumors have been swirling regarding who the next head coach for the Padres will be. Although a lot of names have been tossed around, they have narrowed their list down to a handful of managers with one of them being selected for the job.

New And Old Faces

In some cases, it can be hard to step into a managerial position especially if the guy before you laid a lot of groundwork that led to his success and eventual dismissal. In the case of Jayce Tingler, that was only seen in one out of his two seasons with San Diego when he took them to the postseason. The former managers looking to fill this position have a lot of awards and experience that have molded them into the best that they can be to lead a baseball team to the postseason and beyond. Below, we’ll be taking a look at some of the big names that have been making headlines as the right person for this job.

Buck Showalter

Although he hasn’t managed a game since 2018, Buck Showalter has experience in overseeing teams in the National and American League which only adds to his durability in this position. His first MLB managerial stint began with the New York Yankees when he succeeded Stump Merrill at the beginning of the 1992 season. After a four-year run with the Yankees that ended in 1995, he had compiled a seasonal win-loss record of 313-268 and a playoff win-loss record of 2-3. Even with the strike-shortened 1992 season, he was able to lead the Yankees to a first-place finish in the AL East which won him his first of three American League Manager of the Year Awards.

The ironic part about him leaving in 1995 was that the Yankees eventually went on to win the World Series the following season. His departure from New York only led him to more success, however, when he moved to the west coast and took another managing job for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1996. Since it was two years before their first game would be played, Showalter was brought in to help shape the roster to his liking and make it easier to manage. His overall record with Arizona was 250-236 in three seasons which included his best record of 100-62 in 1999 thus bringing the Diamondbacks to the playoffs and being the fastest expansion team to make the postseason.

The same situation that happened when he left the Yankees occurred with Arizona when they made the playoffs the following season in 2001. Fortunately for him, he wouldn’t be going much farther when he traveled down to Texas to be hired as the manager of the Rangers. In four years with Texas, he led the team to no higher than a third-place finish in the AL West. Even so, he won his second American League Manager of the Year Award in 2004. He was released at the end of the 2006 season and was seeking employment yet again.

I believe many fans remember him for his final stint with the Baltimore Orioles that spanned the beginning of the 2012 season until the end of the 2018 season. His longest tenure with a team resulted in an overall record of 669-684 and a 6-8 record in three postseason appearances. 2012 saw a turnaround for Baltimore after missing the playoffs in the last couple of seasons and again, Showalter would be crowned American League Manager of the Year for the third and final time. Now, he hasn’t coached in nearly three years and the Padres have not formally reached out to him yet, he did mention that he would be open to coaching again if given the opportunity.

Bruce Bochy

Unlike Showalter, Bruce Bochy was actually born and bred for this position when he coached the Padres minor league teams for four seasons and was finally given a shot to manage the Major League club in 1995. When he stepped into this role, he was able to turn around a 47-70 team in 1994 and lead them to a final seasonal record of 70-74 in his rookie year. He was also named as the youngest manager of a National League team at a young and steady 39 years old. The following 1996 season would witness him help the Padres win their second NL West division title in franchise history which earned him the title of National League Manager of the Year.

He then helped the Padres finished to a franchise-best 98-64 record while also acquiring the second National League pennant in the team’s history. Unfortunately, they were swept four games to none in the 1998 World Series which would serve as the second and last time they got this far. More bad news would follow this loss the next season when payroll was drastically cut resulting in five straight losing seasons under Bochy. I wouldn’t put all those losses on him though because he didn’t have much room to make big trades or acquire star-studded free agents.

After the 2006 season, however, new Padres CEO Sandy Alderson wanted to hire a new, younger manager for the team so he gave Bochy permission to interview with the San Francisco Giants in order to become their next skipper. Once hired for this position, his name would come to be synonymous with three World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014 in the bay. He would also come to acquire his 800th, 900th, 1,000th, 1,500th, and 2,000th managerial games won with San Francisco. Following his retirement at the end of the 2019 season, he would go down as the eleventh manager to reach the 2,000 win mark.

Someone like him leading the team would be great given his proven track record in the playoffs and World Series. It would definitely be a tough decision if it came down to him and Bochy but I believe he has a leg up given certain milestones reached.

Ron Washington

Washington was hired to manage the Texas Rangers following the firing of Showalter after the 2007 season and would go on to spend seven interesting years with the team. In 2010, he was tested and found guilty of using cocaine but was still allowed to continue managing the team. He later became only the second manager in Rangers history to take his team to the postseason in 2010. He led them to the World Series that year as well for the first time in their franchise’s history but was defeated by the ever great Bruce Bochy and the San Fran Cisco Giants.

Washington also became the third African American to manage a team into the World Series joining Cito Gaston and Dusty Baker. His success continued into 2011 when he again reached the World Series but lost yet again to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. He would finish his managerial career with four consecutive 90-win seasons, two pennants, and a 664–611 win-loss record. He would most likely be the first candidate interviewed by Padres General Manager A.J. Preller given he was the runner-up last time when Tingler won the job over him.

Aaron Boone

Former player turned manager for his old club, Aaron Boone’s name was recently tossed around as a candidate for the managerial vacancy. His career as a manager is much shorter than Bochy and Showalter but he was still able to gain experience in the postseason in all three years as head coach of the Yankees. Making it to the postseason is one thing but Boone just fell short in every playoff outing which resulted in mixed finishes. He did manage to lead the Yankees to the ALCS in 2019 but the farthest they’ve been since was the AL Wild Card matchup against the Boston Red Sox.

As of late, the Yankees have yet to offer him a contract extension which puts him on the fences as to whether or not he will be returning to the team. I believe that Boone could help manage this ball club given his experience overseeing players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, and more. He has also come under fire for the streakiest season in Yankees history in 2021 which could sway Padres General Manager A.J. Preller’s feelings in either direction.

Brad Ausmus, John Gibbons, and Jeff Banister

Ausmus would be another player turned manager for his old club if he were to return to the Padres. Before leaving the organization, he spent time as a front-office executive which aids his case in grabbing the job. To go along with this, he had brief stints managing the Detroit Tigers (2014-2017) and Los Angeles Angels (2019). Again, another manager that has experience but still lacks in some areas could be next up for a call from San Diego. I personally feel that he could work in this position given his familiarity with the organization and a role previously held with them.

Gibbons’ managerial career spanned two stints with the Toronto Blue Jays which resulted in playoff runs in 2015 and 2016. The farthest he had taken Toronto was the ALCS in 2015 which saw them succumb to the eventual World Series winners, the Kansas City Royals. Along with his ability to challenge plays and win them when necessary, he also tied Bobby Cox for the single-season record of being ejected from eight or more games in one season. His temper would be something new brought to San Diego and who knows, maybe it could fire the team up and revive their passion to reach the postseason next year.

Banister, former manager of the Texas Rangers from 2014-2018, has postseason experience going as far as the ALDS in 2015. Following a successful first season with the team, he was nominated for and later won American League Manager of the Year. He is highly skilled in sabermetrics after learning about it from an analyst who traveled with the Pittsburgh Pirates back when he was with that organization. He comes to mind as the first manager in this repertoire who is skilled in both overseeing a team while also implementing mathematics to make enhance his role and see the game in a different light.

Final Thoughts

I believe that either of the managers mentioned above would be a great fit for the jobs but given the statistics, some would make it to the final stage compared to others. I foresee Showalter, Bochy, and Washington as the final three candidates for the job given their combined experience is absolutely mind-blowing. There are also some risks associated with some of these coaches to go along with their experience, mainly crucial mistakes made during their time with other teams.

The offseason isn’t in full swing for the MLB just yet but for the Padres, it began last week when they were officially eliminated from the playoffs. The damage is already done and the past is the past so now the Padres have to focus on who will lead their club next season as well as how that manager will oversee the personnel associated with the team. Bochy and Machado go way back to his time in Baltimore so this could definitely give him an advantage over others but Bochy has won three World Series so there’s that too.

All eyes are on this team as they look to make one of the biggest decisions that a major league club can make. It all comes down to who fits into the system that they are trying to implement as well as who can stand the backlash from the media and fans alike.

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main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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