Saturday afternoon, a report indicated the Padres are planning to fire manager Jayce Tingler in the coming days. After being 18 games over .500 in the middle of August and firmly in the playoff picture, the 78-82 (entering Saturday) Padres are going to miss the playoffs and end up with a losing record.
As the Padres likely get ready to search for a new manager, one recognizable name will be popular in speculation: Bruce Bochy. And makes sense.
Bochy is 66 and word around the game is he'd like to serve as a manager again. He certainly has plenty of experience, with 25 years as a skipper under his belt. Many will remember his stint with the Giants, which was his last 13 years. He won two division titles, three pennants and three World Series titles there before retiring after the 2019 season. Prior to that, however, Bochy spent his first 12 years as a manager with the Padres.
In his stint in San Diego, Bochy won the division four times -- the Padres have not won a division title since he left -- and took the team to the 1998 World Series, the last such trip for the club.
Hiring Bochy would be a huge pivot for the Padres after the much younger and inexperienced -- at the time of hiring -- Tingler. Tingler's predecessor, Andy Green, was also under 40 years old and a first-time manager when he was hired, so perhaps the timing is right for Padres decision-maker A.J. Preller to go in a different direction.
Earlier this week, longtime baseball reporter Peter Gammons dropped this info:
Have heard ownership would love to bring back Bruce Bochy, and A.J. Preller, as well as more than half the coaching staff, has a longterm relationship with Buck Showalter. Then there will be a lot of interest in Ron Washington, for good reason— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) September 30, 2021
The three names of potential new managers in there are much older and have a lot more experience than Tingler and Green, so it seems possible this is the direction things are headed.
Then again, a report in The Athletic from Friday said the following regarding a possible Bochy hire:
Multiple people expressed doubt that Bochy, who managed the Padres from 1995 to 2006 and led them to their last World Series appearance in '98, would come out of retirement to work for a GM as hands-on as Preller.
"There's no way f---ing Bochy goes in and deals with all that," said one former big-league manager. "There's no way."
It's always possible this is the word around those circles as a means of negotiation ("he really doesn't want that job, so you'll have to pay him a ton to take it"), but it's out there.
Where does this leave us? I think the takeaways are:
- Tingler is almost certainly gone.
- Bochy makes a lot of sense to be hired and might even be their first choice.
- We can't be sure he's interested in the job, though.
We'll see how things play out as the Padres look to get back to the postseason with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado in 2022.