Retaining coaching staff on Padres' agenda
SAN DIEGO -- From the moment Cody Decker grounded out to third base for the final out of the regular season against the Dodgers on Oct. 4, the singular focus for Padres general manager A.J. Preller and his baseball-operations staff was to find a new manager.
With that accomplished by Thursday's hiring of former D-backs third-base coach Andy Green, Preller's attention shifted to the coaching staff -- and for very good measure. Their contracts expire on Saturday.
There was no gentlemen's agreement between the Padres and D-backs after the hiring of Green that stated he couldn't hire coaches away from Arizona. It's just that it's probably unlikely. After all, Green has not been around long enough to have developed much in terms of a coaching tree.
This likely bodes well for a number of coaches on the Padres' staff -- especially the ones who are coveted by other teams but would just as soon prefer to remain in San Diego.
On Friday, Green's first full official day on the job, he spent it mostly on the phone -- talking to players and with coaches, gauging their interest in returning and also trying to get a feel for them through conversation.
"There are quite a few I have my eye on," Green said Thursday at his introductory news conference. "I've heard a number of tremendous things about the character of people that are on this staff, about their desire to see us ratchet it up a bit to be more successful than it was this last year."
Pitching coach Darren Balsley, who has been with the team since May 2003, is one of the coaches the Padres would like to retain. His work is appreciated by the current regime and Balsley, who is from San Diego, has stated previously that he would like to remain with the Padres.
Hitting coach Mark Kotsay, who interviewed for the job, is another many in the organization think very highly of. The same goes for bench coach Dave Roberts, who didn't get an interview, but was a finalist for the Mariners' manager job that eventually went to Scott Servais.
Third-base coach Glenn Hoffman, older brother of Padres Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, is highly lauded for his work with infielders.
Other members of the previous coaching include assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell, first-base coach Jose Valentin and bullpen coach Willie Blair.
Of course, some could get offers to join former Padres manager Bud Black, who has, according to reports, accepted the job to manage the Nationals.
"I think there are tremendous attributes here that you want in a coaching staff," Green said. "I think the process also involves putting the ball in their court -- 'Do you want to be a part of what we're doing going forward?'
"Is it important to you to have collaborative say? We're going to do everything we possibly can think of and things that the front office can think of to be the best we can be. And if that doesn't resonate, I don't think this is the place for them, but from what I hear about most of them, they want to be a part of that. I want to talk to them before I talk about them individually, but from what I've heard, I've heard tremendous things about them."
The Padres would just as soon keep several of their coaches in San Diego, to help Green during his first season as manager.
"Whatever we can do to be the absolute best we can be, that's what we're going to be committed to doing as a Padres organization. I want people that share that same heartbeat, that have no ego," Green said.