The Padres announced Monday that they’ve fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Bullpen coach Ben Fritz will step up as the pitching coach for the remainder of the 2021 season.
“Larry has been a tremendous asset for our organization over the last two seasons, and we appreciate the experience, hard work and dedication that he brought to the position,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said in a statement within today’s press release. “We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
Rothschild’s ouster comes after a weekend in which the Padres were overtaken by the Reds for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. San Diego has been in a freefall in the standings, losing nine of the past 11 games due in no small part to woeful performances from a pitching staff that has not lived up to expectations in 2021. The Padres have yielded an average of 5.91 runs per contest across that 11-game swoon.
Even beyond their recent slide, the Padres’ pitching staff simply hasn’t been as dominant as many would’ve hoped on the heels of an active winter. Joe Musgrove has taken his game to new heights and Yu Darvish has performed well, but San Diego starters rank 17th overall with a 4.37 ERA this season.
Left-hander Blake Snell, a marquee offseason acquisition, has had the roughest season of his career, recording career-worst marks in ERA (4.82), expected ERA (5.62) and walk rate (13.7 percent). Rookie Ryan Weathers has been hit extremely hard of late and is sitting on a 5.83 ERA. Young Chris Paddack, meanwhile, had a brilliant debut in 2019 but has struggled since Rothschild’s hiring prior to the 2020 season. Paddack posted a 3.33 ERA in 140 2/3 innings as a rookie but has a 4.97 mark in 152 innings since. That certainly can’t all be pinned on Rothschild alone, but the timing couldn’t have helped Rothschild’s cause.
Fritz will hold things down for the remainder of the season, but Rothschild’s dismissal means there will be a search for at least one spot on the coaching staff this winter. The fate of others on the field staff could well be tied to how the team performs in the coming weeks. It’s unlikely that there will be major turnover at the top of the baseball operations department, however — not after A.J. Preller was promoted to president of baseball operations and extended through the 2026 season back in February.