The San Diego Padres elicited many responses from their fan base when they announced the hiring of their new manager, Jayce Tingler.
The most prominent of those responses from San Diego Padres fans?
Who the !#*$! is Jayce Tingler?
I, like many long-time Padres fans, had heard the Padres were seeking an experienced manager to replace the recently fired Andy Green. That thought process seemed sound.
As the rumor mill had it, Green lacked communication skills. Both with his GM and with some of his players. A seasoned manager, one who had been there and done that, would walk into the clubhouse next spring with automatic respect.
So, who did the Padres pick to lead their young and inexperienced team into the next decade of winning baseball?
Soon after this information leaked on Twitter I received a text from a friend stating – “Preller just wants somebody he can control.”
Which is a good example of how the fan base perceives GM AJ Preller. Preller and Tingler’s previous history as employees of the Texas Ranger organization seems to indicate a familiarity that would make it easier for communication and cooperation to occur.
That sounds great for the GM. Now, what about the team and the concerns of the fan base?
Jayce Tingler began his pro baseball career as a draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays. A diminutive 5′-8″ and 155lbs, Tingler lacked power and speed but excelled in plate discipline with 177 walks and 70 strikeouts in his first three pro seasons.
Not protected by the Jays in the 2005 Rule 5 draft, Tingler was selected by the Texas Rangers and their Manager of Professional and International Scouting, AJ Preller.
After advancing to the Double-A level with Rangers in 2007, Tingler seemed to hit a wall. As detailed in an excellent article in The Athletic by Jamey Newberg (subscription required), the Rangers approached him regarding coaching a group of young players in the Dominican Republic.
He managed the DSL club in 2008 and 2009 with back-to-back first place finishes for the team. In 2010 the Rangers moved Tingler up to Rookie level Arizona League manager. That team also finished in first place.
From there the Rangers moved Tingler to a Coordinator position overseeing the Arizona and Dominican teams with another first place finish for the AZL club.
Starting from 2011 to 2014 he was the coordinator of all the minor league field operations, a period during which the Rangers organization was in the top 10 of all minor league systems.
In 2015 and 2016 Tingler was the Major League Field Coordinator, during the time when the Rangers won the AL West.
Spring of 2017 saw Jayce Tingler promoted to the front office as an assistant GM, a position he served in the past few seasons. In 2018 Tingler was presented with a brief on field challenge as the interim bench coach for manager Don Wakamatsu., finishing off the 2018 season after the firing of Jeff Bannister.
Tingler’s lack of major league managing experience is of great concern to the Padres fan base. Although GM AJ Preller does not seem to share that concern, it remains to be seen how the Padres clubhouse will respond to Tingler’s leadership.
An Oct 24 article in the San Diego UT by Kevin Acee sites several people familiar with the hiring process. Preller “is enamored with Tingler’s ability to mix personality and baseball instincts with a deep understanding of analytics.”
AJ Preller has basically bet his job on the performance of his new manager. Based on statements made by managing partner Ron Fowler, the success of the next two seasons will dictate the fate of Preller, Tingler, and other members of the Padres staff.
As a life long fan of the team and someone who believes him when Fowler says he wants to win before he dies, there is a lot resting on this hire and we can only hope that Preller knows what he is doing.