Padres fire hitting coach Matt Stairs after lackluster year
SAN DIEGO (AP) — In an almost annual exercise, the San Diego Padres are searching for a new hitting coach after Matt Stairs was fired Tuesday following just one year on the job.
The rebuilding Padres continued to rank at or near the bottom of the majors in key offensive stats under Stairs.
His replacement will be the Padres’ 10th hitting coach since Petco Park opened in 2004.
While saying that he felt Stairs did a good job with mostly younger players, general manager A.J. Preller said he and manager Andy Green decided that the team needed a different approach. The team is expected to promote someone from within the organization.
“We’re wanting a different message, a different voice,” Preller said. “We have some other guys in mind who have real upside. I’m pretty realistic that it was a younger roster, with developing players. From a performance standpoint we didn’t have tons of guys who improved. It’s not like the entire team overachieved. We did have some improvement, but at the end of the day, sitting down with Andy and talking about it, we thought maybe a different voice, a different connection point will hopefully lead to better performance.”
Stairs was hired last offseason to replace Alan Zinter, who was fired on Sept. 1, 2017. Green said then that the team needed “a different voice” to tutor the batters.
Possible replacements include assistant hitting coach Johnny Washington and Morgan Burkhart, the hitting coach at Triple-A El Paso.
The Padres also fired infield coach Josh Johnson on Tuesday.
The Padres were last in the majors in on-base percentage at .297, tied for second-to-last with a .235 batting average and tied for third-to-last with a .380 slugging percentage. They had the second-most strikeouts, 1,523, or 9.4 per game.
Stairs spent the 2017 season as the hitting coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, his first professional coaching position. He played parts of 19 seasons in the major leagues with 12 different franchises, including the Padres in 2010.
The Padres expected to be better this year than their 71-91 finish in 2017 but were last in the NL West at 66-96.