SAN DIEGO -- The Padres are close to hiring former D-backs manager A.J. Hinch to head up their scouting department, a baseball source close to the negotiations told MLB.com this week. The appointment evidently is so close that the Padres are working with Major League Baseball and the D-backs to determine the financials of the deal, D-backs president Derrick Hall confirmed on Friday. Hinch is under contract with Arizona for two more years at a total of $1.3 million. What's to be determined is how much each team will pay when Hinch is signed. Hinch would become San Diego's vice president in charge of scouting.
Hinch declined to comment on the situation when reached by phone on Friday at his home in Arizona. Padres general manager Jed Hoyer also demurred when asked about the deal. "He's been talking to other teams about front office and coaching positions," Hoyer said about Hinch. "Since nothing with us has been finalized, commenting about it would be inappropriate." Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes were dismissed by the D-backs on July 2 and replaced by Kirk Gibson and Jerry Dipoto, respectively. Both have the job on an interim basis. The D-backs had a 31-48 record at the time, but still continue to be mired in the basement of the National League West. Hinch, formerly Arizona's farm director, was a surprise pick as manager when Bob Melvin was let go on May 8, 2009. A former big league catcher with four teams in seven seasons, Hinch had never managed a game at any level. His record at the helm was 89-123 over the course of the 14 months he had the job. But Hinch never had the benefit of being able to start Brandon Webb, who has been rehabbing a right shoulder injury and hasn't pitched in almost two seasons. Hinch, 36, was Byrnes' choice for the managerial job because of their close relationship, and when Byrnes was dismissed, Hinch went along with him. Hinch has since spent the summer talking with a number of Major League teams in an attempt to determine his worth both on the field and in an executive capacity. In coming to the Padres, Hinch will rejoin Jeff Moorad, a former D-backs president and general partner, who is now the San Diego chief executive after his group bought 49 percent of the team, a process that began just prior to the 2009 season. John Moores is still the principal owner and will remain so until Moorad's group of 12 buys out the remaining 51 percent in 2014. Moorad spoke highly of Hinch, who also has a long-standing relationship with Hoyer. Hoyer, a former assistant GM with the Red Sox, was hired last year to replace Kevin Towers, who was dismissed after 14 seasons as Padres general manager. Hoyer has since been evaluating and restructuring baseball operations. Apparently the next step will be hiring Hinch.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.