When Bob Melvin was named the new manager of the San Francisco Giants last Wednesday, the managerial search for A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres began.
A report from The Athletic on Tuesday shed some light on a few of the exterior candidates the Padres are interested in.
Benji Gil, Phil Nevin, and Eric Chavez are names the Padres have yet to officially interview but could do so this week.
Gil played for the Texas Rangers and Angels in his eight-season, 10-year MLB career. After spending 1998 and 1999 out of Major League Baseball, Gil earned his way onto the Angels’ roster in 2000, where he spent the next four seasons, which included a World Series title in 2002. Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Gil attended high school in Chula Vista at Castle Park.
The majority of Gil’s coaching has been in Mexico, his native country, since 2014.
In three stints with the Tomateros de Culiacán of the Mexican Pacific League, Gil managed four championships before getting his first gig in Mexico’s top league, the Mexican Baseball League(LMB). His lone season at the helm in the inaugural year for the Mariachis de Guadalajara led to a division title. Gil then joined the Angels’ staff in 2022 and served as the infield coach this past year, fitting for the former MLB shortstop. Most impressively, Gil served as the skipper for Team Mexico in the recent Olympics and World Baseball Classic. Mexico was arguably the biggest surprise of the tournament this spring, blowing out Team U.S.A. and leading Japan in the ninth inning in the semifinals.
Nevin is a familiar name to Padres fans, putting up some of the best seasons in franchise history over the course of seven seasons in San Diego. He received MVP votes in two seasons during his 11-year career that started as the first overall pick out of Cal State Fullerton.
Two years after his career ended, Nevin went to the Detroit Tigers organization as a minor league manager. After four years managing at Double-A and Triple-A, Nevin joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as their Triple-A manager, a role he held for three years. Nevin interviewed for the Houston Astros managerial opening in 2014, the first of multiple MLB managerial interviews for him, before becoming a third base coach with the San Francisco Giants in 2017 and the Yankees in 2018 until 2021.
Nevin took the same job with the Los Angeles Angels for 2022 under Joe Maddon, whom the Angels fired in June of that season. To replace Maddon, Los Angeles named Nevin as the interim manager. The team went 46-60 under his lead. The Angels gave Nevin a managerial contract for 2023, this time not as the interim. Los Angeles finished fourth in the AL West with a 73-89 record, which was not good enough to get Nevin another year as the skipper.
Chavez is a San Diego native, drafted 10th overall in 1996 out of Mount Carmel High School. He played in the major leagues from 1998 until 2014. Chavez won six straight gold gloves at third base in the early 2000s while receiving MVP votes in four consecutive years from 2002 through 2005 with the A’s.
Following his playing career, Chavez became a special assistant for the New York Yankees before taking the same role with the Los Angeles Angels ahead of the 2016 season.
In 2018, he took over the Salt Lake Bees, a Triple-A affiliate of the Angels, amid coaching changes on the major league staff as manager. The Yankees brought Chavez back to the organization as an assistant hitting coach in 2021. He lasted only a year, joining the New York Mets as their hitting coach ahead of the Mets’ 101-win campaign that ended against the Padres in last year’s postseason. A promotion was in line for Chavez leading into this season, in which he served as the Mets’ bench coach.
Last week, Ryan Flaherty and Mike Shildt were highlighted as the leading candidates, and that does not seem to have changed. Both of the two were on the Padres’ staff for the last two seasons, while Flaherty has been with the organization following his playing career ending in 2019.
The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli later added that Chavez is not expected to get the job and that Nevin appears to be further along in the process than Gil.
Dominic is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Journalism. He also is the producer and co-host of the “Padres EVT Podcast.”