This offseason for the San Diego Padres has been incredibly depressing overall. With owner Peter Seidler passing away in November, the Padres have quickly gone from a team that looked like it was going to a force to be contended with to a team very much in transition from their roster to the coaching staff.
A majority of the starting rotation and key bullpen pieces that kept the Padres in the running in 2023 have hit free agency with no signs that reunions could happen, the team has made no secrets of about wanting to cut their payroll and traded away Juan Soto to that end, and the Padres have been essentially non-factors in the free agency market. It is as though all of the gains the team has made over the last few years are being undone in front of our eyes.
Even the coaching staff is changing in a dramatic way. Former manager Bob Melvin clearly saw the writing on the wall and ended up jumping ship to manage the Giants leaving the San Diego no choice but to hire former Cardinals manager Mike Shildt as their new skipper. Well, the changes on the coaching side keep coming as the team announced that they were adding Victor Rodriguez as their new hitting coach.
Padres hire former Red Sox and Guardians coach Victor Rodriguez
Vic Rodriguez brings an extensive history as a minor league and major league coach to the Padres' coaching staff. After his playing days were done, Rodriguez was a minor league coach for years before getting promoted to Boston's big league staff in 2012. He then went on to join the Guardians' coaching staff as their assistant hitting coach where he stayed until now.
Given how last season went, bringing in a steady, experienced hand to get the Padres' offense back in shape makes a ton of sense. While next season will almost certainly come with some diminished expectations, this San Diego lineup is still loaded with talent that was squandered in 2023 with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. have down years vs. what they are capable of and Jake Cronenworth having an abysmal season before he got hurt.
A hitting coach can only do so much and it does appear as though there are going to have to be some clubhouse culture things that are going to have to change first and foremost, but the Padres still made a strong hire in Rodriguez to help try and stop the bleeding.