This post was originally published over at Hot Stove MLB. We’ve republished it here.
What exactly is the San Diego Padres plan?
Since day one, I have really liked GM AJ Preller, I’ve liked his wheeling and dealing style the way he treated his first GM job the way any fan would treat theirs, trading for big name players in an effort to compete right away. It maybe wasn’t the best strategy, but it was definitely the most fun.
Of course, it didn’t work and now we’re heading into the second season post- Preller makeover. Now, the Padres have gotten themselves out from under the massive contracts of guys like James Shields and Matt Kemp, but they don’t have much to show for it.
As far as I can tell, the best Padres are Wil Myers, who’s good now, Hunter Renfroe, a guy who is likely to be good later, Manuel Margot, another guy who will be better than he currently is, and Austin Hedges, a potentially valuable catcher who will take some time to adjust to the Majors. Of course, there’s some other talent on the roster in Yangervis Solarte and Ryan Schimpf but those guys are not starting caliber players on a good team. If we ranked the top starting third and second basemen, they’d be somewhere in the low 20’s
But, you know, 4 potentially really good starters and a couple more that are passable isn’t a bad place to start a team. Maybe the Padres are planning to see if the pieces fall into place and maybe they can take a run at it? That’s a reasonable plan right?
Nope, not at all. Not when you look at their pitching. It is, in a word, atrocious. I’m not sure it’s even a good AAA pitching staff at this point. They just added Jhoulys Chacin on a short term free agent deal because someone has to pitch every inning of the season but right now Kevin Quackenbush is the best pitcher on the roster, I guess.
The Padres pitching aspires to be a dumpster fire, and that’s what confuses me. What is this team trying to do? Are they hoping to bottom out and rebuild? That seems like an odd strategy considering their good young position players are in the majors now and would be burning up their cheap team controlled years on basement dwelling teams. Are they planning on treading water until they can make some moves for some veteran pitchers? I don’t think so, who would they trade? All their most marketable assets are the young outfielders they seem to want to build around. What’s going on here?
It looks the Padres are going to be one of baseball’s worst teams in 2016. That’s ok, sometimes you have to be worst now to be first later. But the Padres don’t seem to have a plan to make that transition, and that’s concerning.