Weekend Coffee with James Krueger: Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Come to San Diego?


A little bit ago we fired Josh Byrnes. Good. We don’t need to be drafting any more football players.

This opens up a whole world of possibilities, with the importance that GMs have on the sport. It gives the Padres a chance to scoop up one of the top analytical minds on the frontier of advancing baseball, like Michael Girsch of the St. Louis Cardinals. With a team loaded in prospects on their way to playing in one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball, one would think San Diego is a prime destination for lower level front office staff to come make their name.

But it hasn’t been that easy. Girsch wanted nothing to do with us, and so have most other candidates. We’ve interviewed seven candidates and six have declined. AJ Hinch declined the job before he was even approached. People are avoiding the position like there’s no tomorrow, and no serious top mind has had any interest in hopping on board.

In the meantime there’s a three headed monster of a GM making the decisions, led by former Expos and Mets GM Omar Minaya. In case you haven’t heard of his incompetence from the role, Minaya traded for Bartolo Colon and sent just a few prospects in return; Cliff Lee, Brandon Philips and Grady Sizemore. Here’s a list of his moves made with the Mets, to add to the egregious moves.

Everyone wants Kim Ng. And don’t get me wrong, hiring a woman would be great for the Padres and the sport of baseball. She even has experience as an assistant GM in the division, with the Dodgers. People talk about how smart she is, her inquisitive mind. She has great experience dealing with the minors, trades, transactions and winning arbitration cases.

Yet where is the analysis? Where are the advanced statistics? The predictive models? I’m in no way trying to bash Ng, and she would be a good choice, but we need a home run choice. We need an Andrew Friedman, who turned the Rays from perennial laughingstock to perennial championship contender. Or a Mark Shapiro, who developed DiamondView, an advanced model that many teams have replicated since, though not as well. Maybe even a Theo Epstein or Jed Lunhow, who have built completely stacked farm systems through new methods of scouting, who will lead their teams to the playoffs for years to come.

Maybe this great mind isn’t in baseball yet. It could be time to expand the search. Friedman came out of Wall Street. Economists practice similar techniques to GMs, maybe we should be looking there. Many teams are starting to have internship opportunities in analytics departments, maybe we should start doing the same to find one. Or even look at local colleges for young talent.

The Padres don’t need to be hiring another “bridge GM” or worse, take a step backwards and bring back Kevin Towers. We need a GM who can lead the field, set the standard for running a team. It’s time to stop messing around with gimmicky moves, or quite frankly anything that isn’t the right move. If we can just convince someone to come to the beautiful city of San Diego to run a team full to the brim with great prospects (it really shouldn’t be this hard) there’s no reason to think the Friars aren’t going to be a serious contender in a short time. As long as the ownership and management give the new hire enough free room to roam, the next great front office core could be happening right here.