Talking to people who know Jayce Tingler one thing kept coming up:
Just about everyone who has worked with the Padres new skipper says he has an inherent ability to connect to players. That is one of the first things he talked about during his introductory press conference on Halloween at Petco Park, where he said he's laying the foundation for relationships with his new players as we speak.
"We’ve started the process of connecting," said Tingler. "Doing the best I can, trying to work 2-3 calls a day. We’ve got other things going on in the process. Number 1 is just establishing relationships and trying to build. I don’t expect to gain their confidence because of this title. I don’t expect to have that off the bat. I am asking the group to be open-minded. I do expect to win that confidence over time by being me. Connecting face to face, eyeball to eyeball.”
One of the knocks against Tingler is his youth (38 years old) and lack of Major League managing experience. Tingler's resume shows he's done a tremendous job with rookies and up-and-coming minor leaguers. Padres general manager A.J. Preller thinks getting established players like Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer to buy in won't be a problem.
“We’ve been able to see him connect with all different players in a system," said Preller. "Hall of Fame players like Adrian Beltre, All-Star players like Hunter Pence and Shin-Soo Choo.”
Under Preller the Padres have tried to move further into the analytical aspect of baseball. Tingler's take on metrics is they're great ... to an extent.
“I might be a little bit new school and a lot old school," said Tingler. "In the end players play the game. I believe in information. I think this game is played on fundamentals, discipline, energy, passion. Once we get to know each other we’re open to information that makes us better. Not information that overwhelms or clouds, we want blueprints to make us better.”
Tingler is tasked with taking San Diego's collection of young talent that is, by the estimates of most baseball evaluators, among the best in the game and turning it into a winner. He thinks there are enough pieces in place right now to do that.
"What have we inherited?" mused Tingler. "We've got some players with huge upside. In my (conversations with) them they share the same passion to win in for the City of San Diego."
It's not exaggerating to say Padres general manager A.J. Preller is staking his job on Tingler. If this hire doesn't deliver wins (lots and lots of wins) it doesn't matter how talented the roster Preller put together is.