Bruce Bochy Noncommittal On Padres Opening

Giants skipper Bruce Bochy recently recorded his 2000th victory behind the reins of a big league dugout–a nice capstone to what has largely been expected to be his final season as a manager. However, with the firing of Andy Green in San Diego, speculation has already mounted around a potential Bochy-San Diego reunion. As we previously relayed from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Bochy is indeed on the Padres shortlist of potential Green replacements, and reporters, including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, were quick to press Bochy today on his willingness to don Padre brown in 2020 (link).

“I’m not even going there,” Bochy said when asked about the San Diego opening, “I’m concentrating here right now doing what I’m supposed to do. That’s the last thing on my mind right now, as much as we’re in the last week here.”

While Bochy didn’t even want to entertain the possibility of an intra-division heel-turn, it’s worth noting that he has not necessarily ruled out a return to managing. Back in Spring Training, Schulman relays that Bochy said “Never is a long time” when he was asked if 2019 would truly be his final season as a manager.  As San Diego’s skipper from 1995 to 2006, Bochy amassed a 951-975 managerial record–a stretch that also contained one Manager of the Year award in 1996 and an NL pennant in 1998.

Besides his history with the organization, a few other factors may fuel Bochy-to-San Diego rumors in the short term. For one, the February announcement of Bochy’s retirement coincided with San Francisco’s integration of Farhan Zaidi as President of Baseball Operations this past November; although team officials dispelled notions at the time that Bochy was politely nudged toward the door with Zaidi’s arrival in SF, changes in leadership do often precipitate changes at the managerial level. Secondly, it’s also fair to note that Bochy makes his offseason home in the San Diego exurb of Poway, so speculation will likely continue until he definitively declines consideration for the Padres job.

For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA Today divulged this afternoon that San Diego was eating about $2.5MM in firing Green with two years left on his contract (link). Terms of Green’s 2017 managerial extension had been previously unreported, so the revelation of his approximately $1.25MM yearly salary may be relevant in trying to pinpoint his potential successor. Bochy has been performing under a $6MM per annum contract with San Francisco since the 2017 season, so a southbound move to San Diego would require either a substantial pay cut for Bochy or an unprecedented budgetary bump from the Padre ownership group.