Baseball

Padres Finalize Coaching Staff

Padres
New San Diego Padres baseball team manager Bob Melvin speaks during an introductory press conference Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Derrick Tuskan)

The San Diego Padres are getting ready for the new season, and are making additions to their coaching staff. With Bob Melvin coming over from the Athletics, he would like to build a championship-caliber coaching staff to match the talent in San Diego, so far he has been able to do so.

At long last, Melvin’s staff is final. On Monday, the Padres formally announced the entirety of their big league coaching staff, including:

• Bench coach Ryan Christenson
• Hitting coach Michael Brdar
• Pitching coach Ruben Niebla
• Third-base coach Matt Williams
• First-base coach David Macias
• Bullpen coach Ben Fritz
• Catching coach Francisco Cervelli
• Bullpen catcher Herberto Andrade
• Quality control coach Ryan Flaherty
• Game planning and coaching assistant Peter Summerville

Ryan Christenson

Shortly after the Padres announced the hiring of Bob Melvin, they announced the hiring of Christenson as the bench coach. Coming over to the Padres in the same role that he served on the coaching staff for Bob Melvin with the A’s.

Michael Brdar

The Padres made the announcement back on November 22, 2021 that the 27-year-old Brdar would be the new hitting coach. Brdar was most recently the hitting coordinator for the San Francisco Giants for two seasons. Potentially the most intriguing hire on this staff, Bradr is viewed as an up-and-comer in the hitting community.

“He talks a language that I don’t talk, and he talks the language that younger hitters are coming up and talking now,” Melvin said. “I shouldn’t say that; I talk it a little bit. But not as well as he does. On the hitting end, you need to be able reach these guys and speak their language.

Ruben Niebla

Niebla will be serving as a Pitching coach for the first time. With the Cleveland Indians, he has served as a minor league Pitching Coordinator then as the assistant Pitching Coach over the last two years.

Ben Fritz

The interim Pitching Coach after Larry Rothschild was fired. Fritz will move back to the Bullpen with Ruben Nibela being named the Pitching Coach.

With Francisco Cervelli (catching coach), Ryan Flaherty (hitting assistant coach), David Macias (first base coach), and Herberto Andrade (bullpen catcher) filling out other roles on the staff. Flaherty returns to the staff as the Quality Contol coach and will work alongside Summerville.

Matt Williams

The Padres may have just made the final addition to the Major League Coaching Staff with the addition of Matt Williams. Coming over from the Kia Tigers of the KBO League. Williams will serve as the third-base coach as a former Manager with both the Tigers and the Washington Nationals from 2014-2015. He also served as the Athletics third base coach in 2017.

“Younger guys, veteran guys, new-school mindsets, some traditional old-school — I think it’s a great balance,” Melvin said Monday. “We took our time. We wanted to get it right. At the end, I think we came up with some really good names and some really good fits for this staff.”

With the roster that is constructed in San Diego, the Padres should have good odds to make a deep run in 2022. With the coaching staff that AJ Preller and Bob Melvin have brought in, the Padres have a very experienced coaching staff. Was that the missing piece?

Balance

As some would expect, some veteran players might not want to listen to a 27-year-old hitting coach. Though that is where the balance comes in, with Bradr, Flaherty, and Melvin all on the same staff, the Padres believe that they have a very balanced hitting structure.

“I’ve been a little bit more old-school in my approach to hitting, and I think there’s a nice balance with that, too, with a guy like Matt Williams,” Melvin said. “Matt, just look at his numbers, brings a little bit of credibility on the offensive side. We feel like we’re really well balanced there.”

“It’s a blend of some experience and some some younger staff members that are anxious to get to the big league level for the first time,” Preller said. “The biggest thing we’re excited about is: We’ve just got a lot of knowledge.”

In addition to the additions to the coaching staff, the Padres have hired Bryan Price as a Senior Advisor to the Major League Coaching Staff. Bryan is a longtime coach and former manager

“He brings a lot of baseball knowledge from a lot of years,” said Melvin. “He’s done it all. His role will be an advisor. He’ll be there for Spring Training, and during the season, he’ll come and go, which works really well, which gives a little perspective.”

This staff is different than any coaching staff than Melvin had in Oakland. While he was there, the A’s would hire from within. Though, the Padres have strategically put together a staff from outside the organization.

“The hitting end and the pitching end are probably way more technical than when I first got into this. Now, you want to hear about these guys and how they can improve, and how they’re going to use all the tools and technology that are available. Both Ruben and Michael are really well-versed in that.”

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