by Marty Caswell
Check back here often as we keep you updated on the latest changes to the Padres organization on what's sure to be a busy off-season.
Was the firing of pitching coach Larry Rothschild simply a precursor of the Padres organizational overhaul? As the season filled with so much postseason hope and excitement dwindles into wondering if they can finish above .500, we'll keep you updated on the latest firings, mutual parting of ways, expiring job contracts and job reassignment right here.
Preston Mattingly- Coordinator, ML Advance Scouting & Game Planning, hired as Phillies farm director
Any time I have come across A.J. Preller at Petco Park or the Peoria Sports Complex in spring training, Mattingly was nearly guaranteed to be within 10-15 feet of him. Five days after Preller promoted director of player development Ryley Westman to farm director, (replacing Sam Geaney, expiring contract) news trickled in that Mattingly had been hired as the Phillies farm director. Mattingly, yes the son of that Don Mattingly, was hired by Logan White in 2017 as an assistant to baseball ops.
Padres beat reporter Kevin Acee discussed the unexpected move with Darren Smith on Wednesday.
“In the past, he’s been one of the inner circle. There’s so much going on there in the player development, scouting side, that I really don’t know what the situation is. The fact is some moves were made and other people were put into spots and now there were other opportunities elsewhere."
"I don’t know it means there was bad blood but he was not promoted for that job with the Padres and now he’s somewhere else.”
Mark Conner- Scouting Director since 2014, reassigned to Special Assistant to the GM-
Conner, hired by the Padres as an amateur scout in 2010, was promoted to Director of Scouting by A.J. Preller in 2014. This is an interesting one for a farm system that Scott Boras famously declared "hot talent lava" when his client Eric Hosmer was introduced.
But I digress. As the 2021 Padres suffered injury after injury at the big league level, they didn't have the luxury of calling up any prospects that were ready to make an impact. The obvious one, Mackenzie Gore, took a step back. Luis Campusano needs more seasoning, CJ Abrams suffered a season-ending injury while other players that Conner helped draft, Eric Lauer, Cal Quantrill, flourished elsewhere.
Conner will join Moises Alou, A.J. Ellis, Davis Post, Dave Cameron and James Keller as special assistants to the GM, which is technically A.J. Preller (President of Baseball of Ops) since he hasn't hired a GM.
Sam Geaney- Farm Director, head of player development since 2014, expiring contract
Wondering why major league players haven't lived up to expectations in the big leagues is one thing, wondering why we never saw a glimpse of highly heralded pitching prospect Mackenzie Gore this season is another. Take the phenomenon of Fernando Tatís Jr, a former White Sox farmhand aside. Who is the last player the Padres drafted and successfully developed? It's been a while and Padres fans have had the additional torture of watching traded prospects flourish elsewhere. Was Gore's puzzling lack of development a reason for this move? Who knows.
In a text to The Athletic's Dennis Lin, Preller discussed the decision. “Sam has done a very good job building one of the top farm systems in the game over the last seven years. I’m proud of the work he has done developing both players and coaches. We feel confident that we have a group of player development staff who are prepared and ready to take on the continued challenge of being a top-tier baseball development system."
Speaking of coaches, I'm still waiting to find out why triple A manager Edwin Rodriguez suddenly resigned during the season.
After trading a bulk of prospects away over the last season to acquire Mike Clevinger, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Austin Nola, the next farm director has his work cut out for him.
Larry Rothschild- pitching coach
This to me, was the first real sign that something was amiss inside the organization, because contending teams simply do NOT make such a drastic change that late in the season. Did management think Rothschild was to blame for Blake Snell's inability to get it together until it was too late, for Yu Darvish's second half inconsistencies? (Checks notes, whispers Darvish was selected to the All Star Game this year) Or for the injuries that sidelined Yu Darvish, Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet (several times) or a step back for young Ryan Weathers? Was Rothschild responsible for the bullpen games, starters that couldn't get into the 5th inning or a severely taxed bullpen? I tend to think it's more in line with what my colleague Darren Smith surmised on his show recently, he was fed up with scouting reports from above, with how things were being done and finally told someone to shove it.
Perhaps one day we'll get the real truth.