Matt Stairs transitioned last season from the Phillies’ broadcast booth to the batting cages, and after an uptick in almost every offensive metric under his watch, he is leaving for a new job.
The San Diego Padres will hire Stairs as their hitting coach, a source confirmed Friday. Stairs, 49, developed a rapport with the young players in the Phillies clubhouse — his work with Aaron Altherr was most notable — but will depart for California without an assurance of a job under the next Phillies manager.
Stairs’ job with San Diego was first reported by FanRag Sports.
The Phillies, upon removing Pete Mackanin from the dugout at the end of September, told the coaches their fate would be decided by the next manager. They were encouraged to seek other jobs.
But Stairs, one of the few coaches hired with general manager Matt Klentak in charge, figured to have a place on the next staff. The Phillies scored 4.26 runs per game in 2017 after a 3.77 average in 2016. That was their highest mark since 2011. The team’s on-base percentage increased to .315 from .301. It helped, obviously, that the collection of hitters improved from one season to the next. Still, some of the younger players credited Stairs for helpful advice and adjustments as they began to confront big-league pitching.
Stairs has some history in San Diego; he played 78 games there in 2010, one of his final seasons in the majors.
The Phillies are expected to render a decision soon on their next manager. A formal announcement could come as early as Monday.