McGwire opts to leave Padres bench coach job

October 23rd, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have another vacancy to fill on their coaching staff.

Earlier this month, Mark McGwire informed the club that he'd be stepping down from his role as bench coach, sources confirmed Tuesday.

McGwire, who had served in that capacity with the Padres for three years, told the team of the possibility immediately following the season. His formal decision came recently, and it was predicated on his spending more time with his family, those sources said.

McGwire's departure leaves three spots to be filled on the coaching staff of manager Andy Green. Matt Stairs and Josh Johnson were not retained as hitting coach and infielders coach, respectively.

Unlike those moves, McGwire's decision was his own, and it's unclear who the Padres will call upon to fill his place. One top candidate is Triple-A manager Rod Barajas, who has spent five seasons in the organization, including the last three with El Paso.

As for McGwire, his decision to step away comes after nine seasons in a Major League coaching role -- three as hitting coach with St. Louis, three as hitting coach with the Dodgers and the last three in San Diego. During his 16-year big league career, McGwire slugged 583 homers.

It's unclear whether McGwire will pursue coaching opportunities in the future. He could also remain with the organization in a less strenuous role, though that seems unlikely. The indication is that McGwire wants to spend time with his kids as they go through high school.

The Padres don't foresee any further turnover on their coaching staff this offseason, one source said, and it's possible they fill those three vacancies in relatively short order. Early indications point to internal candidates filling those roles, though decisions haven't been finalized.