The San Diego Padres believe they've found the right person to get their star-studded team back to the playoffs. Mike Shildt, who previously managed the St. Louis Cardinals, was hired Tuesday as the Padres' next manager.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) November 21, 2023
Shildt will replace Bob Melvin, who was hired by the San Francisco Giants in October, on a two-year deal. Melvin was still under contract with the Padres for 2024, but the team allowed him to interview — and eventually sign — with the Giants.
Shildt inherits a Padres team that has disappointed despite a ton of star power. Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. are among the game's best players, and Xander Bogaerts, Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish are strong candidates to contend for the All-Star team every single season.
Despite that talent, the team disappointed with an 82-80 record in 2023. The Padres finished third in the NL West, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks, and watched at home as the division-rival D-backs made it all the way to the World Series.
Padres poised for rebound season in 2024 ... if they keep the core together
There is hope that the Padres will rebound in a big way in 2024. The 2023 Padres finished just two games over .500 but outscored opponents by 104 runs in the regular season, the third-best mark in the National League. If they can put up similar numbers next season, they will very likely experience positive regression and win more games.
That is, of course, dependent on San Diego running it back with the same roster. Soto, whose contract expires following the 2024 season, is a candidate to be traded this offseason. Given his age and production, Soto would likely bring back multiple talented, young pieces in a trade. While that might strengthen the Padres in 2025 and beyond, trading Soto would almost certainly make the offense worse in 2024.
Mike Shildt was surprisingly fired by the Cardinals in 2021
Prior to joining the Padres, Shildt spent four seasons as the Cardinals' manager. From 2018 to '21, Shildt compiled a 252-199 record as the team's manager. He led the Cardinals to three playoff appearances but was surprisingly fired in 2021 after a disappointing loss to the Dodgers in the wild-card game.
The team cited "philosophical differences" as the reason for the split. The news came as a major shock, considering the Cardinals rebounded from a slow start to go 38-20 down the stretch and at one point won 17 straight games on its way to a wild-card spot.
Shildt was hired by the Padres in an advisory role ahead of the 2022 MLB season but started the year as the team's third-base coach after Matt Williams had hip surgery in spring training. Shildt moved back into his advisory role for the 2023 season.