The Padres are looking for a new manager, and the club is “believed to be” again considering Ron Washington for the job, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). San Diego’s last managerial search came down to a decision between Washington and Jayce Tingler back in October 2019, with the Padres opting for first-timer Tingler ahead of a more seasoned bench boss in Washington, who managed the Rangers from 2007-14.
With Tingler now out after two seasons, it seems only natural that the Padres would again look in Washington’s direction, though team chairman Peter Seidler recently said that Major League managerial experience wasn’t necessarily a priority with the next skipper. Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller is quite familiar with Washington’s resume, as Preller was working in the Texas front office during Washington’s tenure.
After leading the Rangers to a 664-611 record and two AL pennants, Washington surprised many by resigning in early September 2014, later explaining that he stepped down from the job in the aftermath of a marital affair. Washington returned to baseball as an infield coach and then a third base coach with the A’s the next season, and worked in Oakland through the 2016 campaign before joining the Braves as their new third base coach. That hiring came after another near-miss as manager, as Washington one of the finalists for the Atlanta job that ended up going to Brian Snitker.
Going from the 40-year-old Tingler to the 69-year-old Washington would represent quite the sea change for the Padres, though it could be argued that such a drastic shift is necessary considering San Diego’s collapse in the second half of the season. Clubhouse discord reportedly marked the final weeks of the Padres’ season, and while it isn’t surprising that losing so many games would lead to some hard feelings, Tingler’s critics argued that he lacked the experience to keep the situation on track, and that Tingler’s close friendship with Preller created some natural division between the manager and the rest of the team.
During Preller’s time running the Padres’ front office, his two managerial hires (Tingler and Andy Green) reflected the growing trend around baseball to hire younger, first-time managers who were closer in age to the players. By contrast, Washington would be the third-oldest skipper in baseball if hired, though it is worth noting that the 76-year-old Tony La Russa, the 72-year-old Dusty Baker, and the 65-year-old Snitker are all at the helm of postseason teams.