Jayce Tingler tried making Larry Rothschild the scapegoat in the middle of the 2021 season by parting ways with the second year Padres pitching coach. The pitching struggles/injuries would continue with Ben Fritz as the interim pitching coach.
Fast forward to the offseason, the Padres are looking to hire a manager but they have first filled their pitching coach vacancy, according to multiple beat writers.
The Padres have finalized the hiring of Ruben Niebla as their pitching coach.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) October 27, 2021
The Padres must like Ruben Niebla because it doesn’t make much sense for an organization to hire a pitching coach before they know who their next manager is going to be. What if the manager had a pitching coach in mind that he wanted but the Padres already are imposing a pitching coach on him? That might not be a recipe for success.
Ruben Niebla Background
Niebla is different from the past couple Padres pitching coaches. Rothschild, 67, and Balsley , 57, were both seasoned veterans while Niebla is 49 and has yet to hold a permanent lead pitching coach position before.
Niebla does have professional pitching experience, though, as he played in the Expos and Dodgers organizations before transitioning into coaching with the Cleveland Indians in 2001. He was promoted to Major League Coaching Assistant in 2010 before stepping into the interim pitching coach role after the Indians fired current pitching coach Scott Radinsky during the 2012 season. Niebla then went back to the minors as a pitching coordinator for seven seasons from 2013-2019. Following the 2019 season, he went back to the bigs, serving as Carl Willis’ assistant pitching coach for the last two seasons.
It’s clear that Niebla has plenty of experience dealing with both minor and major league pitchers, which is what the Padres probably wanted in their next pitching coach. The Padres have a lot of young pitchers who didn’t develop under Rothschild, so perhaps a younger pitching guru will be able to connect better with the Ryan Weathers and Chris Paddack’s of the world. There’s also a guy named MacKenzie Gore in the minors that was once the best pitching prospect in baseball, and San Diego wants him to play a part in their first World Series title.
Niebla and the Indians have a history of developing pitchers, such as Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Cal Quantrill, the former Padre who pitched seven shutout innings on national television against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels at Williamsport this season.
Now let’s hope the manager will be able to be in sync with Niebla. Let us know your thoughts on the hire in the comments below!