SAN DIEGO -- Jayce Tingler thinks he deserves to stay on as manager of the San Diego Padres, despite the biggest collapse in franchise history.
It's not his decision to make, of course, and as of late Monday, there had been no announcement about the manager's fate from general manager A.J. Preller, who hired his friend from the Texas Rangers just two years ago.
"I believe in this group," Tingler said Sunday after the underperforming Padres finished 79-83. "Of course I want to be a part of going forward. I think we're closer to getting up top of the division than we are going the other way. I think we've got a lot of talent, I think we've got a lot of winning players. That would be an absolute 'yes.'"
Led by superstars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, and with a $175 million payroll, the Padres went from a fun-loving bunch that captivated baseball early in the season with its swagger to a team that flamed out after the trade deadline, when Preller failed to add to the faltering starting rotation. The fan base was elated at reports the team had acquired Max Scherzer from the Nationals, but those reports soon turned out to be premature and wrong, and Mad Max went to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, along with shortstop Trea Turner, a former Padres farmhand.
Then came reports that some players were unhappy that Preller tried and failed to trade first baseman Eric Hosmer and his hefty contract, and the Padres suddenly lost their spark.
Tingler's hold on his job became tenuous during a brutal freefall 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 games left.
The Padres clinched their 10th losing record in 11 seasons, finishing in third place in the NL West, 28 games behind the San Francisco Giants.
Asked whether the Padres can win with the current coaching staff, Machado demurred, saying, "They pay me to play baseball. I don't worry about what the front office does."
But he added, "Whatever it takes to bring a championship to the city, you've got to do what you've got to do to make that happen. I love the guys that we have here, I think we have a tremendous group, I think we have the qualities to get to where we want to get to to bring that championship, but it's just a matter of turning the page now, learning from this and getting ready for next year."
Tingler had no previous managerial experience above rookie-level ball and stints in various Dominican leagues before being hired on Oct. 28, 2019. 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 Dodgers. Tingler is 116-106 overall in two seasons.
The GM has yet to have a winning record in a full season since he was hired in August 2014. If he fires Tingler, it will be the third time he's dismissed a manager. Neither Tingler nor his predecessor, Andy Green, had big league managing experience when they were hired.
The All-Star shortstop remains a frontrunner for NL MVP despite an up-and-down season that included two trips to the injured list due to a troublesome left shoulder injury and also after testing positive for COVID-19. He was even moved to the outfield for a while in hopes it would reduce his exposure to injury.
Tatis led the NL with 42 homers in 130 games while batting .282 with a .364 on-base percentage and .611 slugging percentage. He also had 97 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.
It took San Diego-area native Joe Musgrove to finally end the Padres' no-hitter drought, which had reached 8,205 games in 53-plus seasons. "No-No Joe," as he became known, pitched the elusive gem in just his second start with San Diego, at Texas on April 9. Musgrove, who went to Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon, was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Jan. 19.
Musgrove (11-9, 3.18) was the only member of the rotation to make every start. Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Chris Paddack all were shut down multiple times with various injuries and all ended the season on the IL.