A Tweet from longtime baseball insider Peter Gammons indicates that the San Diego Padres ownership group would love to bring back Bruce Bochy to manage the team. Is this a possibility?
With the way the San Diego Padres are currently playing, changes need to be made.
The team was virtually a lock for the playoffs a month ago but is now battling to stay above the .500 mark in the standings. This is not acceptable. Peter Seidler and the ownership group command more. They invested in the players. Now they demand results.
Manager Jayce Tingler could very well be a victim of circumstances. It remains to be seen what the Padres will do in the winter, but the second-year manager is surely being evaluated by the front office. His future is cloudy at best to remain with the Padres. The players will need to speak up in the winter for Tingler to save his job. Early indications are that is not going to happen.
Injuries are a significant problem with the team currently. Perhaps because of this, the talk of firing Tingler is premature. Perhaps. The starting staff has been decimated by injuries virtually all year long. Only Joe Musgrove survived the 2021 season without missing time. That is a huge obstacle to overcome. Injuries are a problem, but the main issue on the Padres seems to be the suffering chemistry of the team.
For some odd reason, the Padres do not look like the team we saw at the beginning of the year.
The clubhouse is off, and I am not just writing this because Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. got into a yelling match during a game. That is just baseball. The mentorship of a young player can be tough to watch from time to time. With cameras everywhere and the Padres under a microscope, things came out that probably should have been handled behind closed doors.
The chemistry is off as the Padres no longer look like a team having fun. The game of baseball turned into a daily chore for the team, and like a teenager dragging its feet at their daily duties, the Padres sadly went through the motions for the last month and a half of the season. The results are an epic collapse—one like we have never seen in the city of San Diego. Well, at least for professional baseball. Early indications were that this was one of the best teams in the history of the franchise. That turned out to be false.
For this, most assume Jayce Tingler will be the casualty.
If the Padres do move on from their manager, it seems likely that they will hire a veteran face. After hiring two first-year managers, A.J. Preller will probably look for a skipper who has more experience. Someone who has been there. Someone who can deal with multiple personalities and get the most from them performance-wise.
There is one man who fits that mold and also has ties to the Padres. Bruce Bochy.
Yes, he is going to be 67 next season and is known to balk at the idea of baseball analytics. But the Padres need results. The baseball-lifer gets that from his players. Bochy is described as a player’s manager. The type of skipper that veteran baseball players enjoy suiting up for each day. The ownership group demands results, and Bruce Bochy could provide just that for the team.
Peter Gammons tweeted, on Thursday, that the Padres’ ownership group would love to bring back Bruce Bochy. Peter Seidler and Bochy have a great relationship and that is no surprise. However, A.J. Preller is the man doing the hiring. At this point, if a new skipper is brought in, Preller’s future would be on the line in San Diego. It is all about results and the Padres made great progress, but are failing their ultimate goal.
Can Bruce Bochy work with A.J. Preller? That is the real question.
Bochy is outspoken and naturally prefers to make decisions about the way his team is run. Preller seems like a hand’s on GM and the two could butt heads in that regard. The embracement of analytics and shifts for the defense are another thing that the two may disagree about. I am sure Bochy will adjust his style of managing to the modern game if the opportunity arises. But will Preller allow Bochy the freedom of constructing his own roster to some degree? As a manager with the Padres and Giants, Bochy is known to prefer veterans and there are whispers of him being “tough” on young players. The Padres have several young players and even more prospects on the way. Will the 67-year-old Bruce Bochy show patience with these young players as they develop?
There is also the salary that Bruce Bochy will likely command. If he indeed does open himself to managing again in the league, there will be suitors. Teams that are willing to pay high-dollar for a manager of Bruce Bochy’s ilk. Joe Maddon signed a three-year deal for $12 million with the Angels a few years back, and that would be the neighborhood Bochy would command on the open market. The Padres can afford it, but the franchise is approaching the end of their budget, and every little bit will count when constructing the roster in the off-season. These are all valid issues that need to be resolved if the two sides can come to an agreement.
Bruce Bochy back in a Padres brown uniform is a nostalgic idea. It is a fun thought. However, the modern San Diego Padres need to focus more on results than anything else. Nostalgia doesn’t win ballgames. If Bochy is determined to be the right man for the job- then so be it.
The 2022 season is just around the corner. No time like the present, to prepare for it.