Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
The next manager of the San Diego Padres will not inherit an empty pantry.
The Padres have some respected veterans, and a corps of talented young players with more on the way. Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Manny Machado, Dinelson Lamet, Eric Hosmer, Garrett Richards, Kirby Yates, Wil Myers, Luis Urías, Josh Naylor, Andres Muñoz, etc., etc.
Some of those names have established resumes. Others have bright futures.
And there are even some brighter futures out there in a farm system that has been judged the best in Major League Baseball in each of the past two seasons : pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino, infielders CJ Abrams and Xavier Edwards and catcher Luis Campusano, to name just a few.
The Padres have talent, which is why the managerial position is going to be attractive to interested candidates moving forward. And there are a lot of interesting candidates who may become available.
“We feel we have a lot of talent throughout the system and at the big league level,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said Saturday afternoon during the press conference at Petco Park to announce why the club let Andy Green go with eight games remaining in the 2019 season. “We need that talent to play out on the field and play competitive baseball for the whole season, not just for a period of time. We feel we have a better club than the way we are playing right now.
“The way we’ve finished will leave a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. Big picture-wise, we think we’re in a good place. It’s an attractive job. It is a system that is very talented. We don’t want to be in this position again.”
So the Padres are faced with what Preller calls “a big decision” -- identifying the 21st manager of the San Diego Padres.
Some names create immediate speculation. Former Padres manager Bruce Bochy is leaving the Giants at the end of the season. Joe Maddon could be out with the Cubs. Both have world championship resumes. Maddon’s staff includes a number of former Padres players, including Mark Loretta, whom many believe is prime managerial material. Given the Padres' investment in Latin American players, names like Moises Alou and Joey Cora must get strong consideration.
At this moment, names will be popping out of the rumor mill like balls in the weekly lottery draw. But the next Padres manager has to have a pedigree coming in -- either as a manager or a coach or a player.
Clearly, the Padres weren’t clicking in the second half for Andy Green. They are 25-41 since the All-Star break, and 1-9 over the last 10 games. The offense has gone dormant and in Friday night’s finale under Green, the Padres made errors of omission as well as commission in one of the season’s more disappointing efforts.
“We’re a better club than we’ve shown the second half of the season,” said Preller. “We’re going to be crystal clear what we expect from players moving forward. What we watched nightly recently, guys are capable of playing better.
“We are better than what we’ve shown. Why doesn’t really matter. The biggest thing is, let’s go play better. The bottom line for us is it just hasn’t been good enough in the second half.
“You have to get guys to overachieve. That’s what the managerial search will be about. We have to do a better job of getting this team into a spot where we are in a better place. We came to the decision that there is a little more we can get out of this group. Are guys improving on a daily basis? Is the team improving on a weekly basis?”
The conclusion was “no.”
At least the new manager will have tools to work with.