A.J. Preller has been the San Diego Padres’ new general manager for just under a week. In that time, Preller has come under some fire for a mistake he made in his early 20s dealing with a suspended player in the Dominican Republic. In that same time, Preller pulled the trigger and promoted the Padres’ #6 prospect, and best minor league outfielder in Rymer Liriano. To top things off, several key members of the Padres’ front office resigned and left the organization shortly after Preller took over the reins from Josh Byrnes, who was fired on June 20th.
Is the next domino to fall field manager Bud Black? According to Fox Sports and MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal, while the Padres were finalizing their search for a new front office boss, the idea of relieving Black of his job came to the forefront as well. In his story, the name of Jason Varitek was mentioned as a possible replacement. Varitek, the longtime Boston Red Sox catcher and team captain, has a pre-existing relationship with Padres’ CEO Mike Dee, who from 2002-09, was the Red Sox’ Chief Operating Officer. As per Rosenthal, major league sources have stated that while Varitek’s name was discussed, the odds of removing Black at this time aren’t likely. Black has a solid reputation as a field manager, one whom the players like and respect. If he was to be discharged by Preller and the team at the end of the season, several teams would most likely be interested in immediately hiring him.
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The Padres with their hiring of Preller, are now on their fourth general manager since the 2009 season. The source told Rosenthal that Preller did not mention Jason Varitek’s name during his interview process. Varitek, who retired after the conclusion of the 2011 season, spent 15 years in Boston as the rock that helped lead the team to two World Series titles. He was briefly mentioned as a darkhorse candidate for the Red Sox managerial job after the firing of Bobby Valentine at the end of the 2012 season. If he was indeed connected to the Padres’ managerial job, he wouldn’t be joining unfamiliar territory. One-third of the current major league managers are former catchers. If Varitek were to be hired by a team, he would join two others–the Tigers’ Brad Ausmus and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Mike Matheny as having no previous managing or coaching experience prior to being given a big league team to skipper.