With little accomplished this winter in regards to improving the current roster, are some San Diego Padres fans losing patience with the team?
The definition of patience, according to Merriam-Webster, is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
The patience of Padres fans has certainly been tested, not just lately, but throughout the history of this franchise. The team has made the postseason just five times in its history; six if you count the infamous Game 163 against the Colorado Rockies. Their last winning season was in 2010. Since then, it’s been 80 and 90-loss seasons.
The San Diego Padres are entering the 2019 season with some major question marks, which are expected to be addressed before Opening Day in April. One of those question marks is: who will rescue the club from its woes at third base? The other question mark pertains to its inexperienced staff: who will anchor the rotation as a frontline starter?
The Padres are reportedly nearing the end of their current rebuild. Fernando Tatis Jr., the No. 2 prospect in baseball, is expected to make his major league debut during the first half of the 2019 season. As of now, Padres may not have anything to look forward to until possibly June. Patience.
Tatis, Jr. is not the only highly-ranked prospect that will join this team at some point in the future. Left-handed pitcher Logan Allen could make his debut this season. Luis Urias was called up last season, as was Francisco Mejia. Coming sometime later are Cal Quantrill, MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon, Austin Allen, and Michel Baez. Patience.
This is where patience comes into play. This team is supposed to be competitive in the not-too-distant future. A.J. Preller has spent the past few seasons rebuilding a farm system he once depleted when bringing in the likes of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Craig Kimbrel. He traded Kemp and Kimbrel, among other players, for prospects. And then there was that James Shields trade that brought Tatis, Jr. to the organization.
Padres fans have been told to have patience. The time is coming when the team will contend for championships. But that time is not yet here, and this team is going on a half-century with no World Series titles. They have two National League pennants, but the last one came in 1998, over two decades ago.
Getting a jump start on ending this drought begins this offseason. And despite the riches in the farm system, no single prospect addresses the biggest hole on this roster – a starting third baseman. Unless of course, the Padres prefer to wait for Hudson Potts to make his arrival in 2021 when the team is already supposed to be a contender. Patience.
A free agent third baseman is available this offseason. Manny Machado is a superstar and a generational talent. Reports have indicated that he is being courted by the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago White Sox. The Padres have made no attempt to pitch an offer to Machado.
It’s possible that the superstar third baseman could sign an eight-year, $200 million contract with his new team. That comes out to an average annual value that is slightly higher than what the Padres are currently paying first baseman, Eric Hosmer. Paying Machado $25 million per season is doable for a team with a payroll that sits below league average.
Signing Machado would make sense for the Padres. It fills the glaring hole at third. In addition, it would excite a fan base that has been waiting for something — anything, to be excited about. As of now, there isn’t one player on the roster not named Fernando Tatis, Jr. that brings that kind of excitement.
The other need the Padres have indicated they want to address is finding a frontline starter for the rotation. The Padres have been mentioned in a plethora of rumors regarding starting pitchers.
Early in the offseason, they were said to be discussing trade scenarios with the New York Mets to acquire Noah Syndergaard. Over time, those talks were said to have evolved into a three-team trade with the Miami Marlins. Rumors suggested that the Mets would acquire All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and the Marlins receiving prospects, while Syndergaard would go to the Padres. Rumors.
Various pitchers were mentioned in rumors involving the Padres. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, starting pitchers for the Cleveland Indians, were both said to be trade targets for the Padres. Another possible target mentioned was Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman. No reports have indicated any of those talks making progress. The same goes for the possibility of acquiring Sonny Gray from the Yankees.
The Padres entered the offseason with an expectation to make moves to improve the roster and put a better product on the field in 2019. So far, that hasn’t happened. The only move that has happened so far is signing 37-year-old Ian Kinsler and signing Garrett Richards, who won’t pitch until 2020.
Finishing below .500 in 2019 would mark the ninth straight losing season for this team. The silver lining here is that the organization is at least trying to build a promising future. That is where patience comes in. The only problem is that fans have remained patient for nearly 50 years. They expect results, and they will only become more apathetic with each sequential losing season. Since 2010, the product on the field has been boring. Petco Park has been filled with fans of opposing teams.
Regardless of what this roster looks like on Opening Day, the process is still moving forward. The prospects that baseball writers keep talking about will eventually be with the big league club. The only question is, how long will Padres fans remain patient while waiting for these prospects to arrive? As for the team, can they do enough to keep fans interested until then?
Mike is the sports editor for the Fayette Advertiser, and has been with East Village Times since 2015. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report. He is an avid Padres fan who is keeping the faith and trusting the process.