Mike Shildt has been hired as manager of the San Diego Padres, returning to the dugout two years after he was suddenly fired by the St. Louis Cardinals following a third straight playoff appearance.
The announced Tuesday that Shildt had been given a two-year contract.
Shildt replaces Bob Melvin, who was hired away by the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 25 with a year left on his contract with the Padres. That ended a fractured two-year relationship with general manager A.J. Preller
Shildt was voted NL Manager of the Year in 2019 while with the Cardinals. He takes over a big-spending team that flopped dramatically in 2023, a year after making a stirring run to the NL Championship Series and after increasing its opening day payroll to $258 million, third highest in the majors
Shildt has been a senior advisor to the major league staff and player development department with the Padres since 2022. His familiarity with the team’s top minor-league prospects could be an added bonus in guiding a big-league roster led by stars Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts.
Shildt filled in as third base coach early in the 2023 season after Matt Williams had colon cancer surgery. In the previous season, Shildt also stepped in as third base coach, first base coach, and bench coach due to various medical situations.
He is San Diego’s third manager in four seasons and the fifth full-time manager under Preller since midway through the 2015 season. Preller’s teams have never won a division title, and Melvin was the only manager to guide the Padres to consecutive winning seasons under the GM.
Preller and Melvin said they could work together next year. But when the Giants asked for permission to interview Melvin, the Padres consented, and Melvin was hired soon after by his hometown team.
Hilt started as a scout with the Cardinals in 2003, switched to player development, and worked his way through various levels of the minor league system. He was named interim manager in August 2018 and then took over the permanent job the following season. The Cardinals won 91 games that season, earning Shildt the NL Manager of the Year award, and advanced to the NL Championship Series before getting swept by the Nationals.
The Cardinals had a franchise-record 17-game winning streak in 2021 and reached the wild-card game before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a walk-off homer. A week later, he was fired for what Cardinals president John Mozeliak said were “philosophical differences” between Shildt, the coaching staff, and the front office.