After a disappointing season with high expectations, the Padres are planning to part ways with manager Jayce Tingler after two seasons at the helm, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The decision has not been confirmed by the club, who calls the news of Tingler’s fire “premature,” tweets AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Still, expectations are that Tingler will be let go.
The Padres shocking collapse this year has been well-documented, and it appears that Tingler will be left holding the bag. Despite the frustrating season, Tingler will finish his tenure in San Diego with a winning record, sitting currently at 115-105, a .523 winning percentage.
The Padres were the “it” team of 2020, Tingler’s first season as manager. A relative unknown at the time of his hire, Tingler nonetheless led the Padres to the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and finished second in manager of the year voting. Though they were swept by the eventual champion Dodgers, it was a competitive and spirited three-game series, setting the stage for a tight divisional race in 2021.
The future looked bright for Tingler, who was hand-picked to manage the club by A.J. Preller, who himself was promoted to president of baseball operations and extended through 2026 in February. Preller’s promotion came amid a busy winter, after which the Friars were all but assumed to push the Dodgers for the NL West crown. The Padres extended Fernando Tatis Jr., locking in their star shortstop as the future of the franchise, and they overhauled their rotation with trades for Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove, among other moves.
The 2021 season began on script with the Padres having a share of the best record in MLB as late as 54 games into the year, as MLB.com’s Sarah Langs recently tweeted out. They were 34-20 at that point in the season on May 30th. The injuries began to pile up, and from that point on, the rollicking-good-fun Padres have been nothing short of a disaster. They’ve gone 44-62 since, guaranteeing a losing campaign yesterday with their 82nd loss. The loss came at the hands of the Giants, who took the Padres’ Cinderella season right out from under them and wore it for themselves.
The Padres on-field failures are wide-ranging, though injuries no doubt played a role. The inflexibility of a roster weighed down with hefty contracts for under-performing veterans also played a part. It certainly seems a touch hypocritical for Preller to send Tingler packing, and yet it would hardly be a surprising development. There have been quite a few front office people let go, in fact, as repercussions of the difficult season have been felt throughout the organization. Recent weeks, as well, have been marred by rising tensions and in-dugout altercations that drew national attention, perhaps even providing cause for a Tingler dismissal.
Development failures have also been central to the Padres narrative. With that in mind, the futures of MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon, and Ryan Weathers will be of particular interest for anyone in a leadership role moving forward. It wasn’t long ago that these young arms were the crown jewels of a deep farm system, but trades have depleted the system’s depth while their young hurlers have yet to establish themselves as difference-makers at the Major League level.
The spotlight will shine ever brighter on Preller in the days and weeks to come. Given his recent extension, it seems he’ll continue as the primary driver within the organization, though his next managerial hire will likely be his last unless the team can get itself back on track.