OCT. 29: Scott Miller of Bleacher Report tweets that Sofield is now emerging as the favorite in the Padres’ search.
OCT. 28: Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and current Pirates third base coach Rick Sofield are the two finalists for the Padres’ managerial vacancy, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Gardenhire is the current favorite, Lin hears, though general manager A.J. Preller hasn’t made a final decision yet. (The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel had previously reported that Sofield “appeared to be” a finalist.) An official announcement could come either on Thursday or Monday — both of which are travel days for the two remaining World Series teams. (Major League Baseball strongly discourages clubs from announcing significant news on the days that postseason games are played.)
Gardenhire sat out the 2015 season but reportedly wants to get back into the managerial world. He has also interviewed with the Nationals, though he’s not one of the reported finalists there. Gardenhire has extensive postseason experience from his time with the Twins, having led the club to six AL Central Division titles in 13 seasons and also bringing the team to a Game 163 tiebreaker that was lost to the White Sox in 2008. However, as Lin notes, Gardenhire has a disappointing 6-21 record in the playoffs, having only captured one series victory (against the A’s in 2002).
Sofield, on the other hand, has never managed in the Majors, though he does have six seasons of minor league managerial experience. He’s served on manager Clint Hurdle’s coaching staff in each of the past three seasons for the team’s trips to the postseason. Lin notes that Sofield is known for an “energetic” style.
Whoever is hired will have the ability to bring in his own coaching staff, and Lin writes that pitching coach Darren Balsley and bench coach Dave Roberts would be candidates to join Black were he able to land the managerial gig with the Nationals. Hitting coach Mark Kotsay is a candidate to be retained, he adds.
D-Backs Triple-A manager Phil Nevin also received a second interview in San Diego but no longer appears to be in the running. Also interviewed by the Padres were former big leaguers Alex Cora and Tom Gordon, D-Backs third base coach Andy Green, newly minted Mariners skipper Scott Servais (still an assistant GM with the Angels at the time) and Kotsay. With the exception of Gardenhire and Sofield, each of the interviewees had fairly recent Major League experience as a player. (Both Gardenhire and Sofield played in the Majors as well, though Sofield’s career ended in 1981 and Gardenhire’s ended in 1985.)