The ripple effects of change at the top in San Diego are being felt in Fort Wayne.
Jose Flores will not be back as TinCaps manager. Team president Mike Nutter said a new skipper could be announced in the next few weeks.
Flores did not have his contract renewed by San Diego, Fort Wayne’s major league parent.
Jed Hoyer is completing his first season as the Padres general manager. After a season of evaluating, several changes were made throughout the Padres’ minor league system.
His first year, he wanted to take the time to evaluate what he had and then come to the conclusion that Hey, I need some of my own people that I have either a past history with or they’ve shown me something in the past that says they are going to do the job that I want them to do,’ said Denis Savage, senior editor of Madfriars.com, which focuses primarily on the Padres’ minor league system.
We’re looking at a new breed of characteristics that the Padres are looking for. They are looking for a little bit more speed, someone who can play in that Petco Park-type mentality. Those changes are really rooted with that in mind.
According to Padres.com, minor league coaches Orv Franchuk (triple-A hitting coach), Max Venable (double-A hitting coach), Jose Mateo (DSL hitting coach), Glenn Abbott (double-A pitching coach) and Tom Bradley (pitching coach for short-season Eugene) also did not have contracts renewed.
Hoyer spent seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox before coming to San Diego. Savage said the organizational trend will be to bring a small-ball type of mentality.
They know they have a big park in Petco Park, Savage said. It’s going to take a special kind of player to hit the ball out. While yes, they would love to have those kinds of players as well, they are really gearing up, stressing more on the tools side. If a player can run and run well, he’s kind of a perfect fit because maybe he can run to the alleys and get the ball in the spacious outfield of Petco Park. And he can push the pace offensively so that he causes oppositions’ infielders to make potential errors. They are really looking to be an aggressive team.
In the past, it was a little more passive. It was a patiently aggressive approach under (former player development director) Grady Fuson that stressed looking for pitches, looking for pitches to hit. Although that’s still true, they want to be more aggressive earlier in the count.
Flores went 77-63 in his one-year regular season stint as the TinCaps manager. Fort Wayne lost to Great Lakes, 2-1, in the first round of the Midwest League Eastern Division playoffs.
He’s a nice guy, TinCaps president Nutter said. It was his first year in full-season ball, and I thought he did a nice job with how young the team was. Especially when he first got here, the TinCaps opened the year with four everyday players under the age of 20. To finish over .500 that first half (36-34) was pretty remarkable.
The TinCaps qualified for the playoffs by going 41-29 in the second half.
He was the perfect manager for this kind of team. He’s an up-and-coming manager. He has a firm understanding of the weaknesses of a specific player, and he’s not afraid to challenge them, Savage said.