Padres hire Shildt as manager on 2-year deal

The San Diego Padres have agreed to terms with Mike Shildt on a two-year contract to become their new manager, the team announced Tuesday.

Shildt, former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, replaces Bob Melvin, who left San Diego for division rival San Francisco.

Shildt, 55, served as senior adviser for the Padres after the Cardinals surprisingly let him go following the 2021 season, and was seen as the favorite to take over after San Diego granted Melvin permission to talk with the Giants about their job despite having one year remaining on his contract.

“Mike is a proven winner as a manager at the Major League level, and he brings over two decades of experience in professional baseball to the position,” president of baseball operations and general manager A.J. Preller said in a statement. “In his time here, Mike has displayed a strong baseball intellect, a passion for teaching the game, and has established relationships with players and staff at both the minor and Major League levels. We believe that Mike is the right person to lead the Padres forward in our continued pursuit of a World Series championship.”

The Padres entered the 2023 season with World Series aspirations — and wound up in a season-long tailspin that left them at 82-80. Despite a record payroll approaching $250 million and a team laden with stars, the Padres faltered, finishing behind the National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who made it to the World Series out of a wild-card spot.

Shildt inherits a team that could be in transition. Ace Blake Snell, closer Josh Hader and right-handers Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha and Nick Martinez all are free agents, and the team is looking to cut payroll, potentially considering a trade of star outfielder Juan Soto a year before he’s due to hit free agency. Still, there’s enough talent in San Diego to envision a playoff-caliber team, and Shildt’s duty will be to find it as he did with St. Louis.

After taking over the Cardinals in the middle of 2018 following Mike Matheny’s firing and going 41-28, Shildt managed St. Louis to playoff appearances in each of his three seasons. The Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series in 2019, when they were swept by eventual World Series champion Washington, and lost in the wild-card round in 2020 and 2021.

Shildt’s firing, which came after a year in which the Cardinals won 17 consecutive games in September to sneak into the playoffs, was due to “philosophical differences,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said at the time.

After eight successful seasons managing in the Cardinals’ minor league system, Shildt was promoted to the major league staff in 2017 as quality-control coach. He was Matheny’s bench coach in 2018 before taking over the big league job.

This post was originally published on ESPN

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