Are We on the Cusp of Greatness with this Padres’ Franchise?

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(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

With the Eric Hosmer signing, the San Diego Padres have surely changed gears in an attempt to gain relevance in a very competitive National League Western Division.

However, attempting to compete, and actually doing so, are two very different things. Time and time again, franchises spend millions of dollars only to be disappointed come October when playoffs begin. The Los Angeles Dodgers have historically proven that spending money can result in heartache, and doing so is not a guarantee of success.

It requires more than a financial commitment to become a winner. It is about a change in culture – a change in philosophy. And lastly, it requires a bit of luck. The Padres have had seemingly no luck in their entire existence.

You cannot buy luck, or earn it either. Magic like this just happens. But some argue a change in culture and philosophy brings with it a certain kind of luck. Perhaps the baseball gods will shine upon the Padres fairly soon as they are well overdue for success.

Philosophy and developing a “Padres Way” is something that manager Andy Green has emphasized during his time in San Diego. He was well aware of the lack of tradition with this franchise and he has done well to help develop a Padres’ philosophy. The team desperately needed teachings that can be implemented from the major leagues all the way down to rookie ball. Consistency is key.

Andy Green can do most of this. He has a way about him that gets things done, but sadly, he cannot do it all alone. There is a necessity for leadership at the highest level. That is where Eric Hosmer steps in.

Having a player who grinds each and every day with his teammates, while showcasing plus skills, is valuable on so many levels. Young players learn and get better in an assortment of ways. Some digest coaching better, some need discipline and order, while other require veterans to mentor them.

Presently, the Padres’ farm system is stocked with teenage talent. Fernando Tatis, Gabriel Arias, Jeisson Rosario, Mackenzie Gore, Tirso Ornelas, and others provide an excellent future. These young men require guidance though, as they each face the difficulties in the game that are inevitable. With the mentorship-type philosophy the Padres have implemented, the rough times should be few and far between and each player should be given ample opportunity to develop.

So with an excellent system formulated by upper management and developed major leaguers in place, is this franchise on the verge of something special? As mentioned before, there is a lot of luck involved in sustaining long-term success for a baseball team – factors that you cannot even begin to understand. The Padres are set up for success. The system is burgeoning before our very eyes. Witnessing the talent first hand in the back lots of the complex only educate you of that fact.

It is only a matter of time before several of the Padres’ minor leaguers become household names. To proclaim this team as a squad on the verge of greatness is a bit premature, but the statement could also be very close to the truth. 2018 will be an exciting year as this team takes yet another step in the right direction.

6 thoughts on “Are We on the Cusp of Greatness with this Padres’ Franchise?

  1. I’d like to see the product on the field be competitive before we start dubbing this period of the franchise as successful. It seems that a lot of local writers are kind of mindlessly (and enthusiastically) buying the idea that this farm system is the next coming of greatness. It could be… but it’s foolish to think that “several” of these guys will pan out, and if they do, that our team will be able to retain all of them. In a perfect world, sure, 10 out of the top ten turn into HOF’ers and all that, but that’s not how this game works.

    If we get a few of these farm guys to pan out, that’s wonderful, but AJ still has massive work to do on the current club. We have never reached .500 (or been close) since he’s been at the helm. I think that needs to be examined. And whether you factor in WAR or just common sense, We might graze around .500 this year with the addition of Hosmer. The main offensive issue is that we have a team batting/OBP problem and Hosmer doesn’t fix that. We can hope he influences it, but we also can’t depend on one guy to push Myers, Hedges or Renfroe into the productive hitter category. Keep in mind, those are three core players who have massive issues with making contact or being selective at the plate. Do I need to add that this is a major concern?

    One massive thing that each excited writer seems to be forgetting is the idea of bench depth. This will propel you into the postseason and through the playoffs- it always does. Look at the ’98 Padres- that was as deep of a bench as we’ve ever had. They were a major part of the reason we could knock over clubs like Atlanta and Houston. At this time, we are showing no real depth in the outfield or infield. And adding Pirela to either mix doesn’t represent “depth”, just competition due to question marks in RF and 2B. We need role players and veterans, we lack those. We have no pinch hitting. We have no bonafide UTIL players. So prior to us dubbing this team or time period anything at all, consider that you’re not checking all the boxes and relying solely on prospective performance from unproven players. As much as I dislike the Cubs, they certainly did understand depth in terms of building a club. This team currently does not.

    Then, there’s pitching… This is loaded with more question marks than anything the lineup can throw at us. We have hopes for a couple young arms, a guy we traded for, and a couple of washed up pitchers, this is the current state of our SP. This is not the look of a playoff team or even a good team. This is the look of a team limping out a questionable starting 5 while hoping the bullpen can remain somewhat successful. While we may project a talent pool like the Cubs a few years ago, the Cubs were mindful enough to start adding top-tier arms. In all likelihood, we need two SP’s at an Arrieta/Lester level which the Cubs mindfully utilized. Do you really see Preller having the leeway to shell out 200 mill or more in the next two years? And I’m sorry, but you are not riding three to five under 25 or 26 year old arms into the sunset with a title on their shoulders. This doesn’t happen in baseball. It can, but it’s not happened yet. You need veteran leadership in the postseason and at the end of the year. That’s why Kevin Brown was added in ’98. And that’s why any club worth its weight will add these arms.

    While i appreciate these types of ponderings, we’re missing the fact that the teams of ’84 and ’98 had top tier pitching and guys who elevated their game at the right time: they were veterans who knew how to rise to the occassion… like Hawkins in ’84 and Hitchcock in ’98. Each staff, especially the ’84 team had great depth in SP. Where is this depth, at this moment? Where is the veteran presence in the SP that will carry this team? Yes, we are excited about the young arms but we need one or at least two veteran aces to get anywhere. Again, do you really see this club shelling out that kind of money?

    Then there’s bullpen depth. We do not have that either. We have some hopes there as well and a currently great semi-closer with a small sample size of success. If you want a great club, you need two or three guys like Brad Hand. Our pick-ups were fine but we don’t quite have the right to call anyone in our ‘pen elite. We sort of need that to get anywhere, even in this division.

    The word that separates fact from fiction in this whole thing is Depth. Depth helps stabilize great teams and sustain them. AJ still has a lot to prove about building a successful team. It hasn’t happened yet folks.

    1. Half of your dissertation here is about depth. many of the players we have now have a ceiling of being that bench depth kind of players. At 2B we both Spangy and Asuaje, they both can play multiple positions, and hit from the left side which gives us an option for the projected long term starter in Urias who is RH. We have Villanueva who can play 1B or mainly 3B and could be a platoon option at 3B. Dickerson could be a platoon partner and LH power bat off the bench. As far as pitching goes I disagree about that no teams have gone deep into the playoffs with a young developed core, the Mets made the WS just 3 seasons ago. we have 3 waves of starting pitching, the current 10 arms competing for the 5 maybe 6 spots this season. Then we have the current Big 4 that pitched last season in AA. WE have the 3 blue chippers in A ball. Plus another 3 or so arms that we are not sure about yet. If one maybe two stick for a few seasons from the current crop, another 2 surface from the 2nd wave and then by 2020 or 2021 we add a couple more from the 3rd wave with the fringe guys as back-ups we will have a very strong 5 man rotation. We don’t need every prospect we have to become a ML star player. We need to have 50% of our 40 man roster to be homegrown. Once we raise the level of the ML team we will be able to use our minor league talent to suplement our ML roster as needed. It is a process, one we are just getting started, you come accross like someone is saying we have arrived. Predicting 78-84 wins for this years team is not saying this team is a legit contender. It is a step in the right direction. Then next season we will take another step. One year we will exceed expectations, what year that will be I am not sure yet. But as I stated earlier I have HOPE, that is much better then what we have had for 40 of the 49 seasons of Padre baseball ever!!!!

      1. I like what you have to say and how you explained the potential plan here SD Don. If things pan out that way, I have no problem with guys like Dickerson and Spangy being role players and off the bench guys. And yes, the Mets did have young pitching but there were some veterans mixed in there too.

        But, I am trying to point out that if the author is going to put himself out on a limb there and say things like “greatness” and calling this a success story, I take issue. This is an organization of mid and low minor league prospects and their promise of success. That’s great but it’s also massively premature to call it successful or even “good”. The on the field team is not winning, but, we’re very excited. Okay, that’s to a degree excellent marketing (and this current front office is VERY GOOD at that) but before that, it’s a little silly. We’re basically winning the offseason (again). We won it a few years ago. Remember all the exciting press conferences? Remember the one with Middlebrooks, Barmes, Norris, and some other guy? I’m kind of excited too… but also kind of curious and that’s just based on logic. If I keep buying a crap product with the promise that the product will eventually get better, what exactly am I doing? That’s where I’m at with the Padres.

        I have to stick to a few of my ideas here but let’s put this in a decent timeline: For these top prospects, we are not waiting a year for them to get going, we’re talking 3-4 years. Tatis Jr. is not even 20. Quantrill, Urias, etc, are not going to show up next year and light it up. No one on that list is. That’s just common sense and the typical development of players not named Miguel Cabrera. This is going to be a few years folks. By that time, guys like Myers probably won’t be in the uniform. Spangy will be an afterthought, as will Dickerson. By that time will we have a different owner? GM? This is still SD. Yes, the kool-aid is tasty but I’m not drinking it. I want a competitive club and I don’t see one.

        I do see AJ taking a job in the next year or two based solely on the performance of his farm rankings, I do see a frugal and sheisty Ron Fowler NOT allowing the checkbook to open again… Is this club going to see dividends? Yeah hopefully… but there’s a lot of stories out there of smaller market clubs with loads of potential who remain in the fiction category: 2016 Marlins, 1994 Expos… there’s plenty more.

        Right now this club has built a great promise but is still not on a competitive level and won’t be for the next few years.

    2. I think your memory has some holes…yes Hawkins and Hitchcock had great POST-seasons, but there was no way anyone could have predicted that during those respective REGULAR seasons…

      Hawkins was 8-9 with a 4.68 ERA in a spot-starting role…it took Manager Dick Williams calling him the most timid Texan he ever met…Hawkins was lights out vs the Cubs and he won his only start vs Detroit (I was at that game).

      In 1985 Hawkins won his first 11 (MLB record) and finished 18-8, but he was never a factor after June 1985…EVER…

      Hitchcock was 9-7 with a 3.93 ERA in 1998 and his performances in the POST season were awesome, but certainly not predictable based on the REGULAR season…

      Hitchcock went 12-14 in 1999 and never again sniffed double-digit wins…

      The Cubs added Arrieta and Lester when all the other pieces were in place. The Padres could/should do the same…

      Hate on the current Padre ownership/team all you want, you’ve earned that right as a Padre fan, but just remember this is Spring when hope is eternal and the team looks good with some great upside…so lighten up and put some ice in the Kool-Aid to water it down if you want, but don’t take a dump in the pitcher…some of us are excited…realistical, yet excited none the less…

      Go Pads!!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts here!!! For me it starts at the top down, finding a plan and then sticking to it rather then get diverted and change course. This consistancy will create a window of opportunity rather then what we have had in the past which was a one year shot only to give up when we fell short. Here in San Diego MONEY has always been an issue. Baseball is a marathon not a sprint, injuries occur, players have great years and down years. AJP has his work cut out if he exceeds at creating a window of opportunity that spans multiple seasons or even a decade. No doubt we deserve this. We have allot of talent in this organzation now, the pieces are coming into focus. We have options and I love options. For our market we need allot of production from younger players in their first 5 years of ML service time. We need to get to a place where AJP makes allot of the right decisions, on which players to resign and keep, which FA to bring in to suplement our core players, and keep the talent coming into our organzation at a very high level. It is very tough but doable. I will say I have HOPE!!!

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