Padres Considering Phil Nevin, Benji Gil As Managerial Candidates

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Former Angels manager Phil Nevin and Angels infield coordinator Benji Gil are on the Padres’ radar for interviews as the club continues its managerial search, according to The Athletic’s Dennis Lin and Britt Ghiroli (both links to X).  Nevin might interview this week while Gil “is in preliminary discussions” about a potential interview.

Nevin has plenty of Padres ties, as he lives just outside San Diego and played seven (1999-2005) of his 12 Major League seasons in a Padres uniform.  Since retiring from playing, Nevin has had a lengthy career as a coach and manager in the majors and minors, culminating in his first MLB managerial gig with the Angels over the last two seasons.  Taking over as Los Angeles’ interim skipper when Joe Maddon was fired in June 2022, Nevin was properly made the manager following the season, though given only a one-year contract.  Nevin posted an 119-149 overall record as the Angels’ manager, and he wasn’t given a new deal following the 2023 campaign as the Halos chose to instead look for a new dugout boss.

Gil has never managed at the Major League level, and has been on the Angels’ coaching staff for only the last two seasons.  Still, the 51-year-old Gil has the past experience of an eight-year playing career in the bigs, as well as some managerial experience outside of the affiliated minors.  Gil has worked as a manager in Mexican baseball, most notably helming Mexico’s national teams during the 2020 Summer Olympics and during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.  The Angels reportedly had interest in Gil as a possible candidate for their own managerial vacancy, though it isn’t yet known if the former infielder has sat down for a former interview with the Angels’ upper management.

In a sense, the two candidates represent the four (non-interim managers) who have run the Padres’ dugout during A.J. Preller’s tenure as the club’s president of baseball operations.  Nevin is a veteran baseball man with past managerial experience, like Bud Black (who Preller inherited Bud Black as his first skipper) and Bob Melvin (who managed the Padres over the last two seasons).  In between those hires, Preller went with Andy Green and Jayce Tingler, both first-time managers with relatively little coaching experience on a Major League staff.

This same dynamic exists between the other two known candidates for the San Diego job.  Bench coach Ryan Flaherty has never managed at the MLB level but has been on the Padres’ coaching staff for the last four seasons, while senior associate Mike Shildt was the Cardinals’ skipper from 2018-21.  Flaherty and Shildt are considered the favorites to be the next Padres’ manager, though Preller said that the team would be exploring external candidates out of more than due diligence.  “We’re going to make sure we exhaust all the different possibilities to get the right choice….We want to try to get it right,” Preller said.

Ghiroli also notes that Eric Chavez is “no longer expected to be in the mix” after garnering some level of interest from the Padres in their search.  Chavez has long been seen as a possible future manager, and he has worked on the Mets’ staff for the last two seasons, including a bench coach role in 2023.  Since the Mets are themselves looking for a new manager to replace Buck Showalter, Chavez’s future in New York could well be in flux, though it appears he won’t be part of the Padres’ search.

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