Taking a look at some potential names for the San Diego Padres managerial opening.
With the recent firing of Andy Green, the San Diego Padres will start the search for a new manager.
This will now make the 2020 offseason one of the most important in team history. General Manager A.J. Preller will not only need to replace Green, but reduce the 40-man roster from 51 players, and improve the roster all while making good on the promise of 2020 being a competitive year.
The Padres vacant manager position will likely be the most sought after opening letting Preller choose from a myriad of potential hires. The new manager will have a roster filled with young talent to go along with one of the most highly-rated farm systems in baseball. This will put a lot of pressure on the new manager to win and do so right away.
Let’s take a look at some potential candidates.
With the Cubs recent struggles, there are rumors that Joe Maddon will be fired at the end of the season. Maddon has 14 years of managerial experience with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs. Nine of those years Maddon led teams who won 90 or more games including the 2016 season when the Cubs won the World Series. Signing a manager of Maddon’s caliber would be huge for the Padres. This is not the caliber of manager that comes available every year, let alone available to the Padres. He also speaks fluent Spanish, which should be a prerequisite for the next Padre manager. Maddon made the Rays relevant and the Cubs Champions- can he turn around the Padres? But will the front office want to hire someone with as big a personality as Maddon? He will likely want to do things his way and not want to stray too far from that. No telling if Preller is ready to accept that.
In 2015, the Padres signed Moises Alou to be a special assistant. The former big leaguer is widely known as the player involved in the Bartman game with the Cubs. Alou had a stellar career including six All-Star appearances, and a World Series win with the Florida Marlins. Moises was born in the Dominican Republic and has already likely formed relationships with Padres players within the system. The familiarity is there. However, Alou does not have experience as a big-league manager. Let alone at the upper minor leagues. Will the team be patient to allow a brand new manager time to figure out how to manage correctly?
The interim manager for the Padres will be bench coach Rod Barajas. The former catcher was promoted to the big league club from Triple-A El Paso this season as the bench coach for Andy Green. He has been managing in the Padres farm system since 2014. The Mexican-American has a vast knowledge of the Padres system and is liked by players and staff alike. Barajas was a catcher for 14 years with the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and others. He has a great relationship with both Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia and should get some of the credit for the vast improvements Mejia made on defense this year. It’s hard to imagine Barajas showing much in the final games of the season, but if he makes the right moves- he may find himself in the mix for permanent manager of the Padres. He could very likely be the combination of experience, even though it’s minor league experience while also being a players manager. He is also likely to follow any suggestions the front office would have for him. Preller would still be involoved in the daily opperations.
Currently working for MLB network, Joe Girardi may be a candidate for the manager position. Girardi played 15 years in MLB most notably for the New York Yankees where he won three World Series as a player. He caught David Cone’s perfect game AND Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter. He also managed the Yankees for ten years, winning another World Series in 2009. With almost 1,000 wins as a manager, Girardi certainly brings experience to the table. However, he was not into the new age analytics and thus may not be the right fit for this Padres team and organization. He was not known for using analytics as the Yankees manager. He would be described as more of an old school type manager. He likely won’t be as open to front office suggestions, and that could be a factor.
Former ESPN analyst and former manager for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Orioles, Buck Showalter is available. He has 20 years of experience and 1,500 career wins, but zero World Series wins. In fact, the year after he left the Yankees and Diamondbacks those teams won the World Series. Showalter managed the Orioles when Manny Machado played, so there’s a least a little bit of familiarity with the team. He’s an old school type manager; his ways may not work with the young players on the Padres. Howevere, his old school mentality may be precisely the kick in the pants this team needs.
Currently, in the Dodgers’ front office, Raul Ibanez is a hot name that has been thrown around for a managerial position lately. Ibañez had a 19-year career in the MLB spending lots of time as a DH and outfielder. In 2016 he was hired as the special assistant to the President of Baseball Operations by the Dodgers. He has no managerial experience, and his coaching styles and philosophies are unknown. As an immigrant from Cuba, he will likely be respected and liked by the many international players on the Padres. As a rival, he will probably be aware of many of the prospects and players in the organization but likely will not have any significant relationship with any of the players. Ibañez would be a bit of a gamble for the Padres.
This list will likely double in the coming weeks and months, only to be weeded out one by one until Preller decides on the team’s 20th manager in its history.
The new manager will need to be able to communicate with the young players. Be it from a language standpoint or just a social one; Baseball has changed in recent years in this regard. Analytics is more widely used, so a new manager will need to be able to use these statistics from the front office and apply them on the field. The Padres would likely prefer a manager with experience because there is no time to let a brand new manager learn on the job. But at the same time, he will likely not want a manager that has a “my way or the highway” style attitude.
Is the perfect candidate out there? Likely not. Every manager has his pros and cons. The Padres are just going to have to pick the best manager that will give them the highest chance of success in 2020 and beyond.
Lifelong Padre fan born and raised in San Diego, currently living in Temecula. The editors make me sound smart.