Padres should consider Will Venable for manager

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In the San Diego Padres search for a new manager, they should consider former outfielder Will Venable.

The last manager hired by the San Diego Padres with prior managerial experience was Jack McKeon in 1988.

If the Padres decide to go with an inexperienced manager after the dismissal of Jayce Tingler, it would be their sixth straight offseason hire without experience.

There is a reason for hope when hiring a first-time manager.

The last three managers to win the World Series, Dave Roberts, Davey Martinez, and Alex Cora were all managing in the majors for the first time. Of the ten managers in the 2021 postseason, seven are managing for the first time(including Cora, who is in his second term as manager of the Red Sox after being suspended for the 2020 season).

First-time managers can be successful, and they are paying off big time around the league right now. The problem for the Padres has been choosing the wrong first-time manager.

Should A.J. Preller look for a first-time managerial candidate, he should look at a former fan-favorite Padres outfielder, Will Venable.

Unlike Jayce Tingler and Andy Green, Venable boasts a prosperous major league playing career. Venable spent nine years in the big leagues, with over seven of them in San Diego for the Padres. He was a home-grown player, so he knows what it is like to be a Padre.

The playing career is not that important for a manager, but Venable was always known as a very intelligent player. He played his collegiate career at Princeton University, an Ivy League school. Padres general manager A.J. Preller went to Cornell University, also an Ivy League school. There might be an Ivy League connection between Venable and Preller.

After retiring following the 2016 season, Venable stayed in baseball with various roles.

Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein brought in Venable to be his special assistant in September of 2017. Venable quickly moved back to the diamond to be the first base coach of the Cubs for the 2018 season. After the Cubs struggled in 2018 and 2019, they moved on from some coaches, but not Venable. In fact, he received a promotion to third base coach for the 2020 season, When Chicago saw a turnaround for the Cubs lineup that won them the NL Central in 2020.

Venable’s coaching did not go unnoticed. After missing the playoffs in 2019 and 2020, the Boston Red Sox underwent some coaching changes of their own. When they brought back Alex Cora to be the manager, a job for which Venable also interviewed, he selected Venable to be his bench coach. With Venable in their dugout, Boston exceeded all expectations and made the playoffs with 92 wins.

Given the recent success or lack thereof, you may be inclined not to want a first-time manager again in San Diego for Padres’ first-time managers. That’s fine, but Venable should be near the top of your list of inexperienced managers because of his baseball mind, familiarity with the Padres, and recent coaching success.

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