Padres name D-backs' Green manager
Former third-base coach had success as skipper in Minor Leagues
SAN DIEGO -- When Andy Green phoned D-backs manager Chip Hale to tell him he had accepted the Padres' offer to become their next manager, Hale could not help but beam with pride.
"I was really proud. He's worked hard for this," Hale said.
But then Hale stopped to consider that the D-backs play the Padres 19 times in 2016 -- and suddenly his mood shifted from euphoric to, well, restless.
"He's an aggressive manager and I know now that when we play San Diego, they are going to be well prepared," Hale said. "One of the things he's really good at is exposing other teams' weaknesses."
In what qualified as a surprising move, the Padres circled back to one of the first candidates they sat down with, tabbing the 38-year-old Green as their manager.
Green, fresh off his first season on the D-backs coaching staff, was introduced on Thursday at Petco Park. A source put Green's deal with the Padres at three years.
"Obviously, I am beyond thrilled to be sitting in this seat right now. To have the opportunity to manage the San Diego Padres, to working with this staff, to lead this organization to get to a place we all want to be at: celebrating at the end of the year. That's what my heartbeat is, that's what my passion is," Green said.
General manager A.J. Preller said that Green was the second candidate the Padres interviewed for the job. Some of the others that came after had more experience, some less. But the way Green spoke with conviction, how he handled himself, resonated fast with Preller and his staff.
If there's anyone who is going to help guide the Padres back to the postseason -- the team hasn't advanced to the playoffs since 2006 -- it's Green, Preller believes.
"As we went through the process and started checking the boxes … he checked a lot of the boxes that we liked and he brought a lot of the characteristics we were looking for to the table," Preller said.
"He's a guy we feel could connect with our guys and take our organization to a different level."
Was this a surprising move? Yes, even for Preller, who pulled off a few stunning moves last winter when he essentially rebuilt the roster. But prior to Thursday, Preller had never hired a manager before.
In all, a source said the Padres interviewed "seven or eight" candidates with three of them -- Green, former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Pirates third base coach Rick Sofield -- getting second interviews. They were the finalists, which left Preller with some tough choices.
"It was my first time going through this, and I kind of anticipated that there'd be two or three guys that, right off the bat, wouldn't be a fit for us. Really, you got done with the process and it was a strong group, so that made it hard," Preller said. "But in some ways that made it good because you knew you would end up with a quality person at the end of the day."
That's what the Padres feel they got in Green, who has spent the last 12 seasons with the D-backs. This past season was his first on the D-backs' coaching staff, but he spent four seasons in their system as a Minor League manager.
Green, regarded by his peers as well-spoken, intelligent and confident, is also adept at advanced metrics. He worked with the team's infielders and, specifically, handled all the team's shifting efforts.
"I'm very excited for him -- and even a little jealous. It's a great opportunity, and it is one I think everyone knew was going to happen at some point, maybe not this fast, but at some point. But it's deserved. He's prepared for this," said D-backs hitting coach Turner Ward.
"The Padres are getting a guy who is very passionate about what he does and who cares about the development of his players, as players and as people."
Before settling on Green, the Padres interviewed a wide range of candidates for the job, candidates who had never spent a day managing at any level -- ESPN analyst Alex Cora and former Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais, who last week was named manager of the Mariners.
There was Gardenhire, who managed more than 2,100 games with the Twins. Just last week, Preller was linked to former big league pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon, who hasn't done any coaching professionally.
"There have been big league managers who've been successful from all different paths," Preller said. "So we were open-minded to any of those paths and finding the right guy … the guy who had presence, who had energy, who was intelligent on the baseball side and prepared."
It's still not known if Green will attempt to bring any coaches from Arizona to San Diego. There's nothing to say that he can't. He could have his pick of a handful of current coaches, who are still under contract through Saturday.
"I can't wait to connect with people on the staff. I have heard tremendous things about so many people that are on our staff right now," said Green, who plans to reach out to members of the coaching staff. "I want to get to know them. I want to see if they share the same vision."
The team would like to retain highly-regarded pitching coach Darren Balsley, who has been with the team since 2003. It's unclear what Green's hire will do for the team's hitting coach, Mark Kotsay, who interviewed for the job, or bench coach Dave Roberts, who interviewed for the Mariners' head job.
Green inherits a team that went 74-88 and finished fourth in the NL West, 18 games back of the Dodgers -- far below the meteoric expectations heaped on a team that revamped its roster last winter with a series of dizzying moves, adding Matt Kemp , Justin Upton , Wil Myers and James Shields , among others.
But the Padres struggled early and it cost manager Bud Black his job in June. The interim manager, Pat Murphy, proved not to be a good fit and the team lost 21 of its final 31 games. Murphy was dismissed an hour after the season ended.
Green didn't want to address the 2015 Padres or specific players in great detail before he has a chance to talk to each player. He already has a message that he plans to share with each and every one of them.
"We're going to work as a staff. We're going to work as players. Our tomorrow is brighter than our today. We've got good things coming our way if we commit ourselves to the process and stay committed to that process," Green said.