The San Diego Padres have fired Jayce Tingler, who presided over the biggest collapse in franchise history just a season after finishing second in voting for National League Manager of the Year.
President of baseball operations and general manager A.J. Preller announced the move Wednesday, three days after the Padres finished 79-83 and in third place in the NL West, 28 games behind the San Francisco Giants. Tingler will be given the chance to stay in the organization.
“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,” Preller said in a statement. “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.”
Tingler’s fate was sealed during a brutal free fall that saw the Padres go from a one-game lead for the NL’s second wild-card spot on Sept. 9 to being eliminated from playoff contention with seven matches left. The Padres clinched their 10th losing record in 11 seasons.
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Tingler was 116-106 overall in two seasons.
Tingler had no previous managerial experience above rookie-level ball and stints in various Dominican leagues before being hired on Oct. 28, 2019, by Preller, a friend from their time together in the Texas Rangers organization.
Tingler guided the Padres to a 37-23 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and their first playoff appearance in 13 years. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a wild-card series before being swept in the division series by the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Led by superstars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, and with a payroll of $175 million, the Padres entered this season with World Series aspirations and played with swagger until a number of problems surfaced during the second half, on the field and in the clubhouse.
Although Tatis remains one of the front-runners for NL MVP, he was bothered by a recurring left shoulder injury and was even moved to the outfield for a time in an attempt to lessen his exposure to injury.
The Padres failed to land a starting pitcher at the trade deadline and then saw their rotation decimated by injuries to Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Chris Paddack, with no depth available to fill in.
There were reports that some players were unhappy that the Padres tried to trade first baseman Eric Hosmer at the deadline. Later, reports surfaced that some players had gone to Preller to voice their displeasure with the job Tingler was doing.
In a stunning dugout dustup on Sept. 18, Machado cursed and yelled at Tatis and had to be separated from him by teammates and a coach. The spat came after Tatis struck out looking and then argued the call by umpire Phil Cuzzi. Tingler had been ejected when he came out to argue on Tatis’ behalf and wasn’t in the dugout when the superstars clashed.
Tingler is the fourth manager Preller has fired in his seven-plus seasons. He fired veteran skipper Bud Black in June 2015 and replaced him with interim manager Pat Murphy, who was not retained.
Preller then hired relatively unknown Andy Green, who had no big league managerial experience, although he had been third-base coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks for one season after managing for four seasons in their farm system.
Green was fired with eight matches left in the 2019 season after the team collapsed in the second half. He was 274-366 overall.
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