You would be hard pressed to find baseball fans that weren’t excited to see the 2021 season unfold for the San Diego Padres. With their young core of Fernando Tatis Jr., Trent Grisham, and Jake Cronenworth plus vets like Manny Machado and a front office that has been VERY aggressive, the Padres were on everyone’s watch list this season.
However, over the last couple of months, they have struggled mightily, particularly with injuries on both sides of the ball as well as just underperformance in general. One thing that has gone under the radar is how bad the Padres pitching staff has been in the second half as they rank just 21st in the league in fWAR after the All-Star break. Some of that has been injuries to key players, but no one has really stepped up on that staff and in a ridiculously difficult NL West division, that just isn’t going to cut it.
As a result, the Padres decided to make a coaching move in season.
It is not particularly common for coaching staff changes to happen in the middle of the season, especially for a team that has a winning record. However, pitching coach Larry Rothschild has come under scrutiny in recent weeks due to the pitching staff’s flat performances of late. Rothschild has a ton of experience, but he has not been able to get the rotation to contribute consistently and other than Mark Melancon, the bullpen hasn’t been overly reliable, either.
Filling in the void left by Rothschild’s firing is Ben Fritz who pitched for the Oakland Athletics organization before joining the Padres’ organization in 2015 and has served as the Padres’ bullpen coach since 2019.