After days of rumors, the Padres have officially parted ways with manager Jayce Tingler. The former skipper has been offered the chance to stay with the organization in another role.
“Jayce accomplished a great deal in his two seasons with the Padres, leading our team through an unprecedented pandemic and into the postseason for the first time in 15 years,” president of baseball operations A.J. Preller said. “I have tremendous respect for him as a coach, colleague and friend. After much thought and consideration over the last several weeks, we felt change was necessary at this time to ultimately reach our championship potential in San Diego.”
Reports surfaced over the weekend that Tingler was going to be replaced, and while the Padres announced in response that “no decision has been made on Jayce’s employment status at this time,” the writing seemed to be on the wall given the rather stunning nature of the team’s collapse.
At the end of June, the Padres were 49-33 for the season and winners of 11 of their last 12 games. The question at the time seemed to be which of the three NL West powers (the Padres, Dodgers, and Giants) would capture the division title and which two would be destined for a showdown in the wild card game. Instead, the Padres cratered to a 30-50 mark over their final 80 games, including a nosedive that saw the club win only seven of their final 28 contests.
The result was a 79-83 record and the Padres’ 10th losing record in 11 seasons — a bitter pill to swallow for a club coming off an NLDS appearance in 2020 and with the highest of expectations. Despite the star-studded nature of the Padres roster, several of the big names were undone either by injury or a lack of performance, with the starting rotation being particularly hampered by injuries down the stretch.
It was clear the late-season struggle was creating friction within the team, as there were reports of clubhouse discord at Tingler’s decision-making and his ties to Preller. The Padres’ brutal record in September and October might have well been all the evidence necessary for Preller and ownership to decide that Tingler had lost the team, and now a new manager will be needed to get the Padres on track.
Tingler finishes with a 116-106 record in his two years as San Diego’s manager, still a winning mark thanks to his success in 2020, leading the Friars to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Padres’ 37-23 record was the third-best record of any team during the shortened season, and San Diego’s victory over the Cardinals in the wild card series was their first postseason triumph since the 1998 NLCS.
While a manager is usually the first to go when a team doesn’t succeed, there were enough issues with the 2021 Padres that Tingler was hardly the only one at fault. The Padres’ next manager will be the third Preller has hired to run the club in his seven-plus years in charge of the front office, and though Preller recently signed a contract extension that runs through the 2026 season, there will certainly a lot of extra pressure on the PBO to finally turn the Padres into a consistent winner.
On the more optimistic side, a case can easily be made that the San Diego job is a prime opportunity for any manager. There is plenty of talent on the roster, and the Padres could certainly find themselves back in contention with better health alone in 2022. Both Tingler and previous skipper Andy Green were first-time managers, so it will be interesting to see if Preller again looks for a younger voice in the dugout or if he looks to hire a manager with past experience.