And then there were two.
The Padres' managerial search has narrowed to two front-runners, according to people with knowledge of the team's thinking, and a decision looms in the near future.
Jayce Tingler and Ron Washington -- whose careers and baseball backgrounds vary wildly -- are the two finalists for the job. It’s hard to envision two more different managerial prototypes. Perhaps the only glaring similarity is that both men worked with general manager A.J. Preller during his time in the Rangers organization.
Barring something unforeseen -- and one source said not to rule out another candidate belatedly entering the fray -- the Padres will name either Tingler or Washington as their replacement for Andy Green.
It remains possible San Diego could hire both, with one of the two serving as bench coach. But one team official expressed skepticism at that possibility, wondering whether either would accept a secondary role.
Background: Tingler, 38, was a Minor League Rule 5 Draft selection by Preller himself in 2005. He moved into coaching two years later for the Rangers' Dominican Summer League team. Since then, Tingler has held a number of positions, including Minor League field coordinator, assistant GM and interim bench coach. He's currently serving as Texas' Major League development coordinator.
The case for: In player development circles, Tingler is regarded very highly. There's a strong case to be made that the most important question facing the Padres in 2020 is whether they their highly rated farm system will finally translate into Major League wins. Tingler also has a penchant for building relationships with players of all ages and backgrounds, according to sources. His front-office pedigree also gives him a strong background in analytics.
The case against: Tingler has served as manager briefly in three capacities -- Arizona Rookie League, Dominican Summer League and Dominican Winter League -- but never at a level higher than those. For all of Tingler's qualifications, there are question marks as to whether he'd command a Major League clubhouse, particularly one with a number of high-priced, underperforming stars. That's not to say he can't. But there's a sizable amount of risk associated with a potential Tingler hire in San Diego.
Background: Washington, 67, managed the Rangers for eight seasons, posting a 664-611 record. He won two American League pennants, losing to the Giants in the 2010 World Series and the Cardinals in '11. After his '14 resignation, Washington joined the A's as an infield coach the following May. He joined the Braves' staff as third base coach in ‘17.
The case for: A significant number of people in the organization view Washington as the remedy for what ailed the Padres during a lackluster second half. (They began to slump in late July, and -- perhaps due to complacency -- never found their way out of the spiral.) Washington is a seasoned manager and has proven himself capable of managing personalities and commanding a clubhouse. Some believe that's an extremely important trait on a Padres team with big money signings Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, along with a host of young talent. Washington has also been masterful working with young infielders.
The case against: Washington's prior stances on analytics are suspect, and it's worth wondering whether he'd be willing to adapt to the modern game. The Padres' front office is generally hands-off with day-to-day managerial decisions, but there's still plenty of information the manager is asked to use. There are also questions about Washington's departure from Texas. He resigned citing personal reasons, then later acknowledged his need to work on his marriage following an extramarital affair. Washington also has limited experience in the National League (though it’s worth pointing out that Tingler does as well).