Bullpen Coach Doug Bochtler:
Bochtler is a friend of the East Village Times and spent some time late last season giving our editor, James Clark, the inside scoop on the 2016 season and the road ahead. Bochtler, like Green, Zinter, and McGwire is also in his second season with the Padres and his second season coaching at the major league level overall. Let me just say that the bullpen in 2016 was one bright spot of the season. Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter, and Fernando Rodney all performed extremely well out of the bullpen, among others. Luis Perdomo elevated himself from long shot out of the bullpen to swing man to starter. Something tells me that working with Bochtler in the pen had some impact. In his interview with EVT, Bochtler indicated that he and the staff have been giving special attention to analytics and factors like spin rate. All these things are the wave of the future and I’m glad that Bochtler, for one, is open to taking the team in that direction. His work will be exciting to follow in 2017.
Infield Coach Ramon Vazquez:
Remember Ramon Vazquez? He played with the Padres from 2002-04. In his first season coaching with the Padres, he’s taking over for former infield coach Eddie Rodriguez. Vazquez had a nine-year career in the Major Leagues. Last season, he coached with a Class A Advanced affiliate with the Astros. He’s a familiar name and hopefully he can make a positive impact on the team moving forward.
First Base Coach Johnny Washington:
I’ll admit that I was a little bit surprised when I found out that Tarrik Brock wouldn’t be returning in 2017. The Padres have replaced him with Johnny Washington as first base coach for the 2017 season. This will be his first Major League coaching job. He spent seven years coaching in the Dodgers’ farm system before coming over to the Padres’ organization last season, to work with the double-A Missions in San Antonio.
Outfield Coach Jon Mathews:
Mathews has spent the last three seasons as a hitting coach in the Diamondbacks’ organization. He is coming to the Padres to work with the outfielders. The Padres do have a group of young ones who will need good direction. He will also be stationed in the batting cage during games.
Third Base Coach Glenn Hoffman:
In San Diego, the Hoffman name signifies royalty. Everyone knows that Glenn is Trevor’s older brother, but he is also respected in this town based on his own merits. He is entering into his 42nd year of professional baseball, 19th year as a Major League coach, and 12th as the Padres’ third base coach. I remember the first time that I took notice of the elder Hoffman during the magical 1998 season. He was coaching in the Dodgers’ farm system when the team decided to make some big organizational changes in June of that year. In the midst of these changes, then manager, Tommy Lasorda, was sent up to the front office while Hoffman was brought in as interim manager. He led the team to a 47-41 record during his brief stint as skipper. In 1999, Davey Johnson was given the Dodgers’ manager position, but they retained Hoffman as third base coach. He held that position with the Dodgers through the 2005 season, then came over to San Diego in 2006, where he’s been ever since. He has a wealth of experience, even managerial. His presence as a baseball elder is valuable and his loyalty to the city is admirable. The Padres need to take all the Hoffmans that they can get.
Pitching Coach Darren Balsley:
Balsley is entering his 15th season as the Padres’ pitching coach. He has been the one constant through so many years. He and Hoffman are the only two members of the coaching staff who have remained from the Bud Black era. He’s a native son of San Diego, and an alumnus of Mt. Carmel High School and Palomar College. As far as his coaching experience goes, he’s overseen the developments of pitchers such as Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Heath Bell, and Matt Latos, just to name a few. Okay, I know when people think of Latos these days they think of a disaster, but when he was a Padre, he was on fire. Balsley has also been known to find success working with “reclamation projects” or pitchers with great potential, but who haven’t been able to put it together (or at least haven’t been able to resuscitate bygone success). Guys like Drew Pomeranz, Fernando Rodney, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross come to mind. Let’s face it, the Padres need to pull some magic out of the hat this season when it comes to the starting rotation. Hopefully Balsley will be able to sift through the various arms vying for starting slots and put something together that works. What he did last season with Perdomo shows some encouraging potential. Balsley’s value is really going to pay off in the long-term though. He will be the one working with the young arms of Cal Quantrill, Anderson Espinoza, and Eric Lauer, among others; guys who are expected to be the aces during the Padres new, victorious era. He’s a valuable asset and he brings some much-needed experience to a pretty young coaching staff.
So there you have it; the San Diego Padres coaching staff for 2017. Do you think these men have what it takes to shape the culture of a budding young ball club? Only time will tell. After laying out this overview, I’m feeling pretty confident that this staff is top-notch and capable of doing great things. Stay tuned.