Tingler 'cannot wait' to move forward with SD

October 31st, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- Freshly minted as the 21st manager in Padres history, Jayce Tingler ascended the dais at Petco Park's auditorium on Thursday morning. He sat at a table with a brown backdrop next to general manager A.J. Preller. When Preller finished speaking, Tingler stood and donned a brown No. 32 jersey with the hat the team has unveiled for the 2020 season – deep brown with a vibrant shade of gold for the interlocking “SD."

If it wasn't already clear enough: Tingler is expected to usher in a new and very different era in Padres history. That much was evident on Thursday morning in the color scheme, as the Friars prepare for a full-time transition to brown and gold on Nov. 9. A franchise without a World Series and more than a decade removed from its most recent playoff berth envisions both of those facts changing in the near future.

"I cannot wait to move forward," Tingler said as he closed the opening remarks at his introductory press conference. "I cannot wait to build relationships. And ultimately, I can't wait to be a part of a group that brings a championship to the city of San Diego."

There’s a juxtaposition, of course. The Padres are eyeing 2020 as the year they make their leap toward contention. After a disheartening 70-92 campaign in 2019, they expect things to change quickly, and the ownership group hasn't been shy about saying so.

And yet Tingler is a first-time manager with minimal big league experience. He spent 14 seasons in the Rangers organization in a number of roles, ranging from Minor League development to the front office to the Major League coaching staff. But Tingler has never played or managed in the Majors, and the Padres seemingly don’t have time for a learning curve.

"We're looking to win now and win in the future," said Preller. "It's a hire to win."

Judging by the words of executive chairman Ron Fowler, Preller has staked his own job on it.

"If we don't perform better in 2020 and 2021, we will make changes," Fowler said. "That's absolutely it. A.J. knows that and is comfortable with it, and I think so is Ting. We've got to win, and we've got to win now. That's the expectation."'

In Tingler’s eyes, a number of those winning pieces are already in place.

"This is a special situation," Tingler said. "I don't think many first-time managing jobs have pitchers like [Chris] Paddack, like [Garrett] Richards, like [Dinelson] Lamet. ... I don't think you run into situations on the infield corners with [Manny] Machado, with [Eric] Hosmer, with one of the best 20-year-olds on the planet at shortstop in [Fernando] Tatis [Jr.]."

Tingler spoke for about 25 minutes on Thursday, even answering a question from a local Mexican outlet in Spanish. He touched on topics ranging from his development in Texas to his early conversations with Padres players to his preferred managerial philosophy.

"A little bit new school and a lotta bit old school," Tingler said, citing his desire to use analytics and information while still putting people skills and relationship-building at the forefront.

Because of his personality, Tingler says, don't expect him in his office very often. He'd rather be out and about, building those relationships -- whether that's in the clubhouse, in the gym, in the dugout or in the outfield shagging fly balls during batting practice.

To be clear, Tingler knows there's a measure of trust he needs to gain from his new team -- especially for an external hire without managerial experience. He's currently speaking with two or three players each day via phone, he said.

"I don't expect to gain their confidence because of this title," Tingler said. "I don't expect to have that right off the bat. But I'm asking the group to be open-minded, and I, personally, expect to win that confidence over time. That's by being me."

Tingler was candid about his lack of managerial experience, though he equated his role on the bench in Texas to something of a "second bench coach." As such, he's worked through in-game strategy before, though never in the National League.

"Look, I'm going to make mistakes," Tingler said. "My guess is the players, at some point, are going to make mistakes. So we already have common ground."

To that end, Tingler plans to surround himself with an experienced coaching staff to help with those decisions, adding, "I really don't believe in hierarchy." Those hires should be finalized in the coming weeks.

Ultimately, however, this is Tingler's team. The in-game decisions are his to make. He's the one tasked with getting more out of such highly paid stars as Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, while overseeing the development talented youngsters Francisco Mejía and Luis Urías.

Those tasks won't be easy. And Tingler wouldn’t seem to have much of a safety net if things go sideways.

When the Padres hired Andy Green in 2016, their expectations were different. The team was embarking on an overhaul and didn't expect to contend for a few seasons. Thus, Green was afforded some leeway to work through his mistakes without much on-field consequence.

Upon Tingler's arrival, the sentiment was noticeably different.

"He came here to win," Preller said.

"In ’20 and ’21, we have to compete, and we mean it," Fowler reiterated.

Tingler, at the very least, understands the stakes.

"Championship-level baseball," he said. "That's the expectation."