Padres begin search for full-time manager
SAN DIEGO -- For the first time in nine years, the Padres are looking for a full-time manager.
General manager A.J. Preller, about to enter his second offseason, said Monday that the directive he and his baseball operations staff will take during this search comes with one implicit rule.
"The focus is going to be trying to find someone in the managing spot that brings a winner to San Diego," said Preller, addressing reporters at Petco Park.
"I think the baseball operations group is ready to talk to the best and brightest we can find in the baseball world."
One day after the end of the regular season, one that saw the team finish 74-88 -- which included a slow skid of 21 losses in the final 31 games -- the team set out to find its next manager, as interim manager Pat Murphy was dismissed after a loss to the Dodgers on Sunday.
So what's next?
No imminent hire, for one, Preller said.
"We're going to talk to a lot of people in the next week or so in terms of interest level we'll probably cast a wider net," he said.
If Preller has a set idea of what he would like his next manager to look like -- both in terms of experience and background -- he wouldn't say Monday, only to insist that the primary goal of this process was to keep an open mind in finding the best fit for an organization that hasn't advanced to the postseason since 2006.
"We are going to interview people from all spectrums … from all experience levels," Preller said. "You look at some of the more experienced managers in the Major Leagues and they come from all different backgrounds.
"I think that the biggest thing we're looking for is someone who has presence, has energy, someone who can get our players to play at a high level, someone the players are going to respect and want to play for, someone the organization can rally around, someone who can establish a culture."
Two internal candidates probably merit discussion; Hitting coach Mark Kotsay and bench coach Dave Roberts, though Preller sounded very interested in having talks with those from outside the organization.
"It's always good to have familiarity. I do think part of this process, though, is you get some fresh ideas from outside the organization that brings some different takes," he said. "Even in the interview process, you hear some different thoughts and ideas of how people view the world. I think that's good for everybody."
The last time the Padres hired a full-time manager was after the 2006 season, when Bud Black was hired. Black was dismissed in June. The way teams look at prospective managers has changed since then.
The recent industry trend of hiring managers who have spent little time -- or none -- in the dugout, like Mike Matheny of the Cardinals, Robin Ventura of the White Sox and Brad Ausmus of the Tigers, has opened the managerial field up to a wider group in recent years.
"I think really it just comes down to the individual," Preller said. "We're going to focus more on the individual qualities and characteristics that some of the successful managers have and not be detailed that it has to be a guy that just came off the field or has certain aspects."
Arizona general manager Dave Stewart said Monday that the Padres had sought permission to talk to third base coach Andy Green. There's a thought the Padres could also ask to talk to the D-backs' Triple-A manager, Phil Nevin, who played for the Padres from 2000-2005.
Preller's strongest ties might be with former Rangers manager Ron Washington, who helped guide Texas to two World Series (2010-11). Washington is currently the third-base coach for the A's.
Preller said the new manager would have input into the team's current coaches, who are under contract through the end of October.
"I think a lot of it will be the manager's call … guys he wants on staff. We feel we have some coaches in that room who I think are part of the solution for the new manager," Preller said.
The interview process will be directed by Preller with input from assistant general managers Josh Stein and Fred Uhlman Jr. Expect director of scouting operations Don Welke and senior adviser Logan White to have input as well.
"There will be guys from the baseball operations team, guys that have played in the big leagues, guys that have been in the front office, guys from a scouting background, player development backgrounds," Preller said. "So we'll get a mix of different guys asking the questions to candidates from the experience."
As Padres team president and CEO Mike Dee told MLB.com last month, the final call on the manager will come down to Preller. Dee and executive Ron Fowler will lend support, but this will be Preller's hire.
"They've let us know it's a baseball ops call … it's my call," Preller said.