Edwin Rodriguez is in his first year as the manager of the El Paso Chihuahuas. Photo: Jorge Salgado

EL PASO, Texas —Edwin Rodriguez is in his sixteenth year as a manager, third in the Padres’ organization and first as the manager of the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas.  He managed the then Florida Marlins in 2010 and 2011.

Before going into coaching, he played eight years professionally, mainly with the Yankee and Padres organizations in the middle infield.  Two of his three seasons in the majors were with the Padres in 1983 and 1985.

We caught up with Edwin on our recent trip to El Paso to discuss some of the top players in the Padres’ system including Luis Urias, Austin Allen, and Andres Munoz.

MadFriars: The first thing I need to ask you is why is Luis Urias still in Triple-A?  We understand it’s not solely your call, but what has he been working on?

Edwin Rodriguez: I think that he is ready to be in the big leagues.  At the same time, there are certain things he needs to work on to be more consistent; his approach on a daily basis and I think that is his main challenge.

You will watch his swing for two straight games and then on the third, it might not be there. So what we are looking for is consistency.  I haven’t talked with A.J. [Preller] or Andy [Green] but I think when they call him up they want him to play every day and be productive and not send him back down to the minor leagues. 

So I think the next time he goes up, it’s for good and right now they want to make sure that he has everything to be successful. 

So much has been written and discussed his leg kick.  Last year I spoke with Luis at the Future’s Game and with Phillip Wellman, his manager at Double-A San Antonio in 2017, and Rod Barajas, his manager here last year, and they claimed the problem was more directional than the height of the leg kick. Is that what you have seen too?

Rodrguez believes that Luis Urias is the best defensive shortstop in the PCL. Photo: Jorge Salgado.

Edwin Rodriguez: Yes, and we have been talking about that with him. When we talk to him about consistency, it’s about that. The load and separation from the back leg need to be more towards the pitcher and not towards first base. 

All the hitters that have that type of leg kick will vary it depending on the pitcher and the type of pitch.  That is why pitchers here will try to mess with his timing.

Ty France has had a great year.  He has been playing first and third base since he got sent back down.  Do you still see him playing some second base as well?

Edwin Rodriguez: He could be more of an emergency guy at second base or on a double-switch, yes.  I see him more at those two positions.  Offensively, he is a big league player.

Ty is really good because he can play a lot of different positions and do anything to try to help the team.  

Ty France has been solid defensively at both third and first. Photo: Jorge Salgado

You were the one who let him know he was playing the outfield for the first time in his life when you were his manager in [High-A] Lake Elsinore.

Edwin Rodriguez: [laughs]  Yes, I remember that!  Most times it works.  If they start thinking about it they start to feel too much pressure.

It’s not like you were having him catch.

Edwin Rodriguez: True, but Ty can catch too.  That puts a lot of value on him too.  He can play first, third, some left field and with that offense.  He’s worth something.

After the second game of the series, we discussed how much Austin Allen has improved at catcher defensively and the improvement of Michael Gettys’ mental game this season. After the game on Sunday, we talked about the ability of reliever Eric Yardley to eat innings

I was impressed – as was everyone – with Dinelson Lamet.  Do you see him as a starter or reliever going forward?

Edwin Rodriguez:  I think he can be pretty high in rotation for any club.  He has that big fastball, he’s big and strong and can give you innings. 

Andres Munoz in action with Amarillo. Photo: Grant Wickes

You talked the other night about Andres Munoz going more than an inning.  Is it just me, or do you find it amazing that he throws as hard as he does with a relatively slight frame?

Edwin Rodriguez: I really believe that when he starts to use his lower body a little more he has about three or four more miles in him.  He has a lot of strength in his core.  He will be in the big leagues for many years.  He’s really talented.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

3 Comments

  1. […] NextQ&A with El Paso Chihuahua’s Manager Edwin […]

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  2. […] most things, it had little effect on his offense as he rapped out a pair of singles.  His manager Edwin Rodriguez sees France as being someone that can play second, but whose best position is still first or third […]

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  3. […] could be more of an emergency guy at second base, or a double switch,” said El Paso manager Edwin Rodriguez in an interview with us in July. “Ty is really good because he can play a lot of […]

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