A.J. Preller Betting Franchise Future with Jayce Tingler Hire
Who is Jayce Tingler? That is what 99-percent of the baseball world is asking this morning since word leaked out that the 38-year old will become the next manager of the San Diego Padres. General manager A.J. Preller conducted his managerial search over the last month, which included former Padres player and Chicago Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta and Atlanta Braves third base coach Ron Washington. Tingler will replace Andy Green, who was fired on September 21st.
Back to the question regarding the 21st manager in Padres history. Tingler's relationship with Preller goes back to their days working together in the Texas Rangers organization. A former minor league player, Tingler worked his way up the organizational ladder, including three years as the Rangers' minor league field coordinator and later the outfield and baserunning coach for the big league club. Two years ago, he moved into the Rangers front office as assistant general manager but he returned to the team's coaching staff this past season and he had also had a hand in player development. While Preller was developing the Rangers' young prospects in the Dominican Republic, Tingler learned Spanish and managed the Texas Dominican Summer League team.
When you look closely at Tingler, you see someone who is well versed in baseball analytics, a growing trend around big league clubs today. His ability to speak fluent Spanish will help him work with the Padres Latin players. He also knows the inner workings of the front office and has big league service time as a coach. I spoke with someone who worked with Tingler in the Rangers organization and he praised his work ethic, ability to communicate with players, and knowledge of the game. The one thing he lacks is major league managerial experience, which is why this hire is a risk for Preller. The Padres are built to win over the next two to five years and they cannot afford to waste the prime years of Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer. They still have plenty of young talent, including foundation pieces like Fernando Tatis Jr and Chris Paddock. In the Minor Leagues, left-handed starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore is considered a future ace of the staff.
The team has plenty of things to do this offseason, including adding one or two proven veteran starting pitchers to the top of their rotation. The big advantage for Preller is that he has plenty of young pieces to trade, especially in the outfield and on the mound. The Padres were last in the National League West in 2019, finishing 22 games under .500 and 36 games out of first place. The last time San Diego made the playoffs was 2006, when they lost in the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. Team ownership will not continue to settle for losing baseball and executive chairman Ron Fowler said last month that "If we don’t win in 2020, heads will roll," Fowler told reporters via the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Mine will be the first one." Preller is under contract until 2022 but he might not last that long if Tingler cannot deliver a winning season and postseason appearance for the Padres next season.