Dryw Keltz 9 a.m., Oct. 17
Padres staff to return in 2014 – maybe
The Padres say that their coaching staff will return in 2014 but some might not be working for the club when all is said and done
The San Diego Padres sent out a press release Monday afternoon that most media members had already heard or otherwise suspected; the Padres coaching staff will all be back for another year in 2014. The coaches mentioned are pitching coach Darren Balsley, bullpen coach Willie Blair, third base coach Glenn Hoffman, hitting coach Phil Plantier, assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell, bench coach Rick Renteria, and first base coach Dave Roberts.
Manager Buddy Black previously had his option years picked up by the club and is set to manage the team through 2015. General Manager and Executive Vice President Josh Byrnes made the announcement concerning the coaching staff.
The bigger question is how many Padres coaches and front office personnel are going to interview for vacant managerial positions in Major League Baseball. Sources indicate that the Chicago Cubs will be interviewing Renteria in the very near future concerning their opening for manager.
Sources also indicate that A. J. Hinch, Vice President of Professional Scouting for the Friars, is also going to interview with the Cubs. And an unconfirmed rumor has Brad Ausmus, currently a special assistant to the Padres, going to the Windy City for an interview as well.
Darren Balsly has previously stated that he has no desire to manage in the major leagues and that he’s happy being a pitching coach. Other than Renteria, it doesn’t seem likely that the other Padres coaches are quite ready for a promotion, except for perhaps Glenn Hoffman, who could possibly take over as bench coach should Renteria become a manager somewhere else.
Aside from the Cubs, the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals are all looking for new managers, although no current Padres staff has been speculated to interview with those clubs. But the Cubs have shown some definite interest.
Theo Epstein – former Director of Baseball Operations for the Padres under Larry Lucchino – became the General Manager for the Boston Red Sox under Lucchino and eventually became President of Baseball Operations with the Cubs, and was instrumental in bringing former assistant and former Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer into the Cubs organization in the same capacity. It’s no surprise that Epstein and Hoyer have insight into the Padres coaching staff and front office talent.
According to sources that cover the Cubs, the club prefers a manager with some major league experience in that role, which would preclude Renteria somewhat but would certainly enhance the opportunity for Hinch, who seems to be a better fit on paper. Hinch managed the Arizona Diamondbacks briefly, which was what ultimately brought Josh Byrnes into the Padres organization.
Diamondbacks ownership wanted Byrnes to fire Hinch, which Byrnes refused to do. Byrnes was dismissed and came to the Padres where he eventually became the General Manager once Hoyer left for the Cubs. Hinch was fired and Byrnes brought Hinch’s talents to the Padres.
Aside from his managerial experience, Hinch, 39, works well with young talent, which the Cubs are loaded with. While Renteria is certainly deserving of a chance to manage a club, don’t be surprised if the Cubs go with Hinch, nor if Renteria manages elsewhere.
Will Venable is the nominee from the Padres for the Hank Aaron Award for 2013. The award recognizes the most outstanding offensive performers in each league, and each team gets one player nominated. Judges include Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount, along with Aaron himself. Venable hit .268 in 2013 with 22 doubles, 8 triples, 22 home runs, 53 runs batted in, 64 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases. Fans also get a vote at the mlb.com website. The American League seems up for grabs between Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, but I couldn’t imagine that Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks doesn’t already have a lock on this trophy in the National League.