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Sources -- Padres to hire Mike Shildt as their new manager - ESPN

The San Diego Padres are hiring Mike Shildt as their new manager, sources tell ESPN, turning to the former St. Louis Cardinals manager to replace Bob Melvin, who left the team for division rival San Francisco.

Shildt, 55, served as senior adviser for the Padres after the Cardinals surprisingly let him go following the 2021 season, and was seen as the favorite to take over after San Diego granted Melvin permission to talk with the Giants about their job despite having one year remaining on his contract.

The Padres entered the 2023 season with World Series aspirations — and wound up in a season-long tailspin that left them at 82-80. Despite a record payroll approaching $250 million and a team laden with stars, the Padres faltered, finishing behind the National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who made it to the World Series out of a wild-card spot.

Shildt inherits a team that could be in transition. Ace Blake Snell, closer Josh Hader and right-handers Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha and Nick Martinez all are free agents, and the team is looking to cut payroll, potentially putting star outfielder Juan Soto on the trading block a year before he's due to hit free agency. Still, there's enough talent in San Diego to envision a playoff-caliber team, and Shildt's duty will be to find it as he did with St. Louis.

After taking over the Cardinals in the middle of 2018 following Mike Matheny's firing and going 41-28, Shildt managed St. Louis to playoff appearances in each of his three seasons. The Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series in 2019, when they were swept by eventual World Series champion Washington, and lost in the wild-card round in 2020 and 2021.

Shildt's firing,