Buck Showalter is endorsed by Manny Machado, but would the veteran manager be a good fit for the San Diego Padres?
Getting the very best from Manny Machado will be critical to the San Diego Padres’ future success.
Not that the talented young infielder is not motivated to perform but, in the game of baseball, you can get complacent from time to time. It happens to the very best players in the sport. The season is nine months long for some players, and the 162-game schedule can be monotonous. Machado could use a manager who will touch his baseball soul and unlock the great passion he has for the game. It is there, but the Padres just need to see it every single day.
Manny Machado is passionate about the sport he loves. In the past, one manager has been able to figure out the often chastised infielder. Buck Showalter managed the right-handed hitter since he was 20 years old. He knows him better than any other manager. Machado has publicly made his admiration for Showalter known. You would have to think that he would be extra motivated each day coming to work with the veteran manager in the Padre clubhouse.
Showalter has battled with Machado from time to time, but the two have great respect for one another. “Have I had my moments with him?” Showalter said. “Of course we’ve had our moments. But I never lost sight of how pure he is, what I call the pureness of his baseball heart. And you could never lose sight of the competitor in him. You push him into a corner; he’ll come out firing. You throw at him once too often; he will come at [you].” Showalter told Mike Lupica of MLB shortly after Machado was dealt from the Baltimore Orioles to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That type of fire and intensity is what the Padres need from him. Channeling it for the best of the team is what can be tricky.
There is no doubt that Machado will have a significant influence on the future moves the Padres make. Buck Showalter has not been linked to the team yet, nor has he exactly made it know that he intends to return to the major leagues as a manager. The 63-year-old baseball lifer would bring tons of experience, but is he the type of hire the Padres want leading them?
Showalter is described as a “balanced” manager. He embraces analytics very well, but at the same time, likes to get to know his players and will push their buttons every once in a while to get more from them. The Padres are slowly adapting to analytics, and Showalter could be that nice mix of managerial styles that the front office craves.
The veteran manager has over 1,500 major league wins under his belt, and he is hugely respected in the MLB community. Showalter has the distinction of managing two different franchises the year before they won a World Series. The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and the 1996 New York Yankees each won a Championship the year after Showalter left the team. Not the most favorable stat, but the nucleus for each of those winning teams were helped cultivated by Buck Showalter.
A.J. Preller will explore all options. Buck Showalter may not be the proven winner or young guru the Padres’ front office seems to favor. But the grizzled veteran already has the respect of Manny Machado, and that is nearly half the battle.