Marlins to Consider Padres' Ted Simmons for Managerial Opening
Among those the Marlins will consider is San Diego Padres bench coach Ted Simmons, FanHouse has learned. Florida has been gathering information on Simmons, said a major league source.
Simmons, 60, was an eight-time All-Star catcher who batted .285 in a career that spanned 21 seasons. He was 19 years old when he debuted as a catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1968.
As a bench coach in recent years Simmons held the managerial reins in both Milwaukee and San Diego when the manager was absent. He's never been a full-time manager but said he's ready to manage.
"At this point I either get on with doing it or forget about it, and it's much too compelling to forget about it," he said.
Simmons has worn several other hats. He was general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1992-93 before downshifting because of a heart attack suffered in 1992. From 1993-98 he was special assignment scout for Indians GM John Hart.
The Padres had him oversee their farm system and scouting from 1999-2001 before moving him into an assistant's role to GM Kevin Towers. Simmons likened his duties as a farm director to managing because he was "responsible for, at that time, seven teams, seven managers and the operation of games daily, times seven. You tend to do a lot of managing."
His playing career ended in 1988 with the Atlanta Braves. Simmons returned to the field in 2008 as Ned Yost's bench coach with the Brewers and has been Bud Black's bench coach in San Diego since 2009.
"He'll come to managing with a great perspective because of where he's been his entire baseball career -- player, farm director, GM, scout," said Black, who on Monday received a contract extension through 2013. "He will truly have insights on what ideally makes an organization go. He blends a strong passion for the game with some absolutes that he truly believes in, but there is also a side in him that's innovative and creative."
With the second-lowest payroll in the majors, the Padres boast the best record in the National League entering play Monday. Simmons is one of Black's sounding boards and also works closely with Padres players, especially catchers Nick Hundley and Yorvit Torrealba.
Hundley said Simmons' energy and competitiveness are among the coach's many strengths.
"I don't think there's anybody that cares more about the Padres and about us winning than Teddy does," Hundley said. "He's in the game with us. He's in there to try to help. Sometimes he gets on me. But at the same time, it's all in terms of learning. He's trying to help me get to the level that he got to -- win a lot of games, get to the playoffs, get to the World Series."
Simmons said he has interviewed for a managerial job only once, with Tampa Bay when the franchise was debuting in 1998. The job went to Larry Rothschild.
As a player, Simmons was volatile and durable, and highly successful, amassing more RBI (1,389) than all but three other switch-hitters in major league history (Eddie Murray, Mickey Mantle and former New York Giants star George Davis), according to the Padres' media guide. He confronted opponents, umpires or teammates. His intelligence and candor brought him extra attention from the baseball media.
Friends of the hard-driving Simmons worried for his health after he became GM of the Pirates. Simmons has described the heart attack as a "wakeup call" that led to a healthier approach to life.
"The good thing about this game," he told FanHouse on Sunday, "is you don't need a heart condition for it to kill you."