SAN DIEGO — A.J. Preller got his man.
With Jayce Tingler, Preller will make his stand.
That's the reality for the Padres, their general manager and the man who will be their 21st manager.
The team on Thursday tabbed the 38-year-old Tingler to replace Andy Green, who was fired on Sept. 21 near the end of his fourth season.
Tingler was a member of the Hays Larks in 2000, playing left field and batting leadoff.
Padres management had placed an emphasis on experience as they began their process. Players also seemed eager to play for a manager who had won elsewhere.
But Preller downplayed experience as any sort of overriding factor, and several people in the organization indicated other traits would play a role in the decision. Team officials pointed out over the past few weeks that eight of the 10 managers in the postseason this year were in their first jobs. That group included the Twins' Rocco Baldelli, who turned 38 in September and is the only major league manager younger than Tingler.
The Padres did talk to Bruce Bochy after the season. But the man who won three World Series with the Giants and was Padres manager from 1995 to '06 is committed to taking time off. The team also did extensive research on Joe Maddon, but it became clear he was headed to Anaheim to manage the Angels.
Ron Washington, who managed the Rangers in their 2010 and '11 World Series appearances, was the other finalist for the job. As recently as Tuesday, people familiar with the Padres brass' thinking said it seemed Washington was destined to be the pick. By Wednesday, it was clear Tingler had moved ahead.
The plan is to surround Tingler with experienced coaches, including what they hope will be some current members of the staff and possibly some with managerial experience. One candidate is Mark Loretta, a former All-Star who served as an advisor in the Padres front office for nine seasons and was bench coach for the Cubs in 2019. Another possibility is former Reds manager Bryan Price.
Tingler will be the 16th manager to begin a season on the Padres bench. Five others have served at least one game solely as interim manager.
As of Thursday morning, the sides had not officially agreed to terms. A background check and physical had also not been completed, though Tingler was in San Diego.
Truth is, Preller essentially tapped Tingler long ago.
Preller feels so strongly about Tingler's knowledge, engaging personality and ability to quickly grow into a major league manager that he essentially is staking his own job on the hiring.
Multiple sources indicated throughout the hiring process that Preller is aware he has little margin for error and was counseled by ownership that hiring Tingler was taking a risk for which he would be accountable should it not work out.
Preller is signed through the '22 season, but Executive Chairman Ron Fowler is on record saying "heads will roll" if the Padres don't show marked improvement in 2020.
At 70-92, the 2019 season was the franchise's ninth straight with a losing record. The team has long identified 2020 as when it expects to start contending.
People familiar with Preller's thinking believe he sees in Tingler someone with a similar mindset who also has his own ideas. The feeling is Tingler has a "better understanding" of what Preller is trying to accomplish and is committed to working collaboratively.
While Preller has been charged with improving his communication with his manager, the Padres' brass came to believe Green did not share that vision and was unwilling to fully implement it.
The Padres, with Green's enthusiastic blessing, wanted to hire Tingler as a member of the major league staff early in Green's tenure. The Rangers declined requests to officially talk to Tingler.
Tingler played four seasons in the minor leagues, the last of them in 2006 in the Rangers' system. Preller was a Rangers assistant GM when the organization selected Tingler in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft in 2005.
After the '06 season, Tingler began his coaching career.He coached and managed in the Dominican Republic, where he continued to hone his Spanish. He moved on to oversee instruction in the Rangers' rookie programs in the Dominican Republic and Arizona and was the organization's minor league field coordinator from 2012-14.
He served on manager Jeff Banister's big-league staff in 2015 and '16 before joining the front office as an assistant GM in 2017.
Tingler served as bench coach for interim manager Don Wakamatsu at the end of 2018 and interviewed to be Rangers manager that offseason. Under Chris Woodward in 2019, Tingler returned to the role he held in the '15 and '16 seasons.