San Diego

Opinion: It's Time For the Padres to Get Rid of Manager Jayce Tingler

The Friars aren't going anywhere until the right person is in charge of the dugout

NBC 7's Derek Togerson talks about why the Padres need a new manager in this commentary

I like Jayce Tingler. He’s always struck me as a good man. I hope he wins a World Series someday.

That’s not going to happen with the Padres and it’s time for him to go.

The writing is on the wall. This is not working. After what we’ve seen the last month or so it’s become painfully obvious it’s never going to work.

We can talk about the obvious things that have shown him to be a sub-par skipper. It’s a long list but here are some highlights:

  • Lineup Construction = Using six different leadoff hitters when none of them really lost that spot due to lack of performance creates havoc in a lineup and Eric Hosmer is no more deserving to be a cleanup hitter than Yu Darvish is.
  • Bullpen Usage = As much as I like Emilio Pagan he’s lost the right to handle 8th inning duties in close games and Austin Adams should never be called upon to enter a game with runners on base because someone is getting plunked.
  • In-Game Decision Making = Plenty of examples here but the one that leaps off the page is not double-switching against the Dodgers, creating a situation where pitchers have to hit in three different innings with the winning run in scoring position. Los Angeles skipper Dave Roberts took Tingler to skipper school that night.
  • Regression of Key Players = Too many guys have played below their talent level under Tingler. Hosmer, Wil Myers, Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, and Adam Frazier have all struggled to reach their potential this year.

Those are the kinds of things that make players start to think they’re at a strategic disadvantage every game and that belief is hard to overcome. We’ve seen multiple signs of that in the 2nd half of the 2021 season and Jayce was squarely on the hot seat.

However, the final nail in Tingler’s proverbial coffin came on Sunday and he drove it home himself.

He decided not to start Fernando Tatis Jr. in the final game of the season at Petco Park. After the game Tingler was asked his thought process on that decision.

“I thought it was best to get him off his feet.”

That statement underlines, highlights -- puts in bold 72 font in Las Vegas lights -- the problem with this manager and what (in my opinion) is the reason he seems to have lost the ear of his players.

Jayce Tingler has shown a staggering inability to read the freaking room.

In a vacuum, not starting Tatis in the last home game of the year might not seem like a fireable offense. The kid is having an MVP-caliber year and battled through injuries all season. With no playoff appearance on the line a little bit of rest is probably a good thing for him.

It simply CANNOT come on the last Sunday at home. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the only reason a lot of Padres fans didn’t sell their tickets the last 11 home games. He’s the most beloved Padre since Trevor Hoffman and rapidly entering Tony Gwynn territory. Tatis has been outspoken about his love of, his commitment to, the San Diego fan base and that love has been returned tenfold. This would have been the last chance for us to see him in-person this year, the last chance for him to put on a show for the people he pledged 14 years to and sacrificed millions of dollars for.

And Tingler didn’t get it.

Jayce sat the kid because … what? What logical reason is there to not play the face of the franchise on what amounts to fan appreciation day?

The only acceptable one I can come up with is a flareup of his shoulder injury and El Nino was physically unable to play, which was proven not to be the case when he pinch-hit late in the game.

If Tingler is this oblivious to what’s going on around him the only possible conclusion is he’s the same way in the clubhouse.

He cares about his players, no doubt. But he’s not connecting with them the way a successful manager does.

When the Padres were eliminated from post-season contention after another come-from-ahead loss to the Braves on Saturday night Manny Machado was asked if the Padres have the right mix in the dugout and clubhouse. Manny is usually not reticent. His response was telling in its vagueness.

“We have a great group of guys. Our team is the right team to go out there. We compete, we grind, we understand each other. We’re going to continue to take it day by day. Whatever happens, happens. We’ll move forward. These are things that, you look at it at the end of the year and you made that decision there. I’m here to play baseball. That’s what they pay me for. They don’t pay me for any of these business moves.”

I believe Manny has become the leader of the Padres clubhouse and he’s not going to publicly call out his manager. I also believe if Manny was sold on Tingler he’d have said so. He had the platform to give Tingler an endorsement and declined to do it.

If you lose the support of your superstars you lose your clubhouse. Jayce Tingler has lost the clubhouse, no matter how much he’ll tell you he thinks he hasn’t.

Here’s the bottom line as I see it. Andy Green went 24-40 in the 2nd half of 2019 and was fired. In the 2nd half this year Jayce Tingler is 25-38 and with 6 games left against the two best teams in the National League there’s not a whole lot of reason to think this finish will be substantially better.

If that was enough to have Green sent packing with a roster nobody thought was very good it should be more than plenty to cut ties with Tingler. It’s time to go get a proven commodity that will command the respect of the players in the Padres still infinitely talented clubhouse. Just who is that?

Well, that’s a column for a different day.

LISTEN: With NBC 7 San Diego's Darnay Tripp and Derek Togerson behind the mic, On Friar will cover all things San Diego Padres. Interviews, analysis, behind the scenes...the ups, downs, and everything in between. Tap here to find On Friar wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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