A former Blue Jays catcher has been named the bench coach of the San Diego Padres after spending some time as the manager of their Triple-A team.
According to an official team release, Rod Barajas has been named the San Diego Padres’ bench coach. Jon Heyman of Fancred first noted on Twitter that the Padres were adding Barajas to their staff. Barajas was widely believed to be the frontrunner for the job prior to him being named the bench coach.
Barajas, 43, played over 1100 big-league games, 229 of them for the Jays. In parts of two season for the boys in blue, the native of Ontario, California slashed a cumulative .237/.275/.406 with 30 home runs, 120 RBI and 42 doubles.
Before this announcement, Barajas, who also spent some time as a manager in the Arizona Fall League, was managing the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, the Pads’ highest level minor league affiliate. Before that, he managed the Triple-A San Antonio Missions of the Milwaukee Brewers.
A veteran catcher with years of experience on both ends of the bench, Barajas will join fourth-year manager Andy Green in a unique, diverse San Diego Padres coaching staff. Though the team hasn’t had much success in years past, an incredibly exciting farm system seems poised to change that narrative in a hurry.
Under Barajas, the Chihuahuas won a franchise-record 82 games in 2018, and went 228-196 while he was their skipper. Evidently, it wasn’t a difficult decision for the Padres to promote the manager of their successful highest level affiliate. He found a spot when former Pads bench coach Mark McGwire stepped down earlier this month.
Moving forward, Barajas will join Green, along with former St. Louis Cardinals Skip Schumaker on the staff. The bench coach, as a position, has changed shape over the last couple seasons, and it’s possible that Barajas’ appointment could reinforce that trend, especially in a rebuilding team like the San Diego Padres.