Could a Tiger be in the Padres future?


It will happen, oh, in mid-January or so.

The Padres will call a news conference to introduce their new manager.

Brad Ausmus, the stage is yours.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out today,” Ausmus will say, after his short commute from Del Mar. “I can’t wait to get started.”

We can’t either on 2016 and if you’ve been out to the ol’ ball yard lately, you know why.

While the Padres prevailed against the last-place Rockies after a tight-rope act on Tuesday, Monday and Sunday’s games were among San Diego’s most unsightly of the season.

The Padres have gone south, a direction their compass has been stuck on for two months. There’s a brief respite when they string together a game or two of success. But baseball being baseball, the truth always comes out.

No lie, the Padres aren’t very good. And in other news, that dang dog really did bite a man.

But man what a coupe it will be to get Ausmus, who made his playing debut with the Padres in 1993.

He’s Ivy League smart, solid with his communication skills, a three-time Gold Glove-winning catcher, has experience as manager taking a team to the playoffs and knows the Padres from working in their front office.

He’s young enough — 45 — to relate to the Millenniums. He’s old-school enough to stand up to millionaires.

But how are we so sure Ausmus will be the skipper? We’re not, of course.

He still has to get his pink slip from the Tigers, but trust us, they’ll be no Detroit bailout with Ausmus’ name on it.

A last place finish confirms it will happen. A new general manager in the Motor City solidifies it.

Thing is, the Padres will need to move fast — if they haven’t already in swimming baseball’s back channels. The Padres won’t be alone with a help wanted sign hanging outside their shop.

If someone beats them to Ausmus, there are others on Padres general manager A.J. Preller’s list. We haven’t seen it, but we can speculate.

In no particular order: Jason Varitek, Alex Cora, Raul Ibanez, Moises Alou, Mark Kotsay, Dave Roberts, Rod Gardenhire and Ozzie Smith.

We figure Pat Murphy, the interim manager, gets an interview, too. But he would be a tough sell after his test drive ended with four flat tires.

Then again, pop the Padres’ hood and that rattling noise has more to do that whose grip is on the steering wheel.

The team hasn’t started a left-handed pitcher all season. The shortstop is a collection of guys learning, guys past their prime and guys being played more than their skills allow.

The first baseman has as many home runs as Madison Bumgarner. The left-fielder is headed elsewhere unless one big check heads his way. The center fielder is well, I can’t figure that one out, either.

There’s little help on the way from a farm system resembling the San Joaquin Valley during the drought. Triple-A El Paso qualified for the playoffs, but that is more a testament to it being filled with Triple-A players. There are few prospects that shine, screaming for their chance at the bigs.

So the new manager is going to have to be equal parts savvy and patient. It would help if Preller got busy on his end, too.

We eye a baseball calendar that reveals September and we realize this sweet summer is gone.

But the water is warm and ditto the speculation that someone at ease in them, the surfing Ausmus, will land in San Diego.

A long shot on a long board? Maybe. But after this season’s wipe out, we can’t wait to get started on 2016.


+ Contact Jay Paris at Follow him on Twitter at @jparis_sports.



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