The calendar is flipping to 2021, and another year passed in which the San Diego Padres missed the playoffs.
Much like anybody trying to improve in the new year, the Padres need some New Year’s resolutions.
For most of the team, each player at some point experienced a great amount of success. Unfortunately, a lot of the Padres did not sustain their success for the whole season or even weeks at a time.
Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Chris Paddack all had stretches where they looked good, yet all finished with ERAs over four, and Paddack finished above a 5 ERA. The Padres entered 2021 with lofty expectations for their rotation but failed to meet them due to inconsistency.
Yu Darvish’s ERA by month this season:
April: 2.13 ERA
May: 2.20 ERA
June: 3.07 ERA
*MLB begins sticky substance crackdown*
July: 7.36 ERA
August: 6.32 ERA
September: 9.95 ERA
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) September 14, 2021
At the plate, Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer were the second and third highest-paid hitters on the team last year(Fernando Tatis Jr. only made $1 million in 2021). Their inconsistencies resulted in a 109 and 102 WRC+, respectively. Although these marks are above the league average mark of 100, the Padres are not paying Myers and Hosmer to be just above league-average hitters.
The bullpen, which for most of the season was the strength of the Padres, had several arms that you didn’t know what you were getting from them that night. That is the case for most bullpens, but if the Padres want to make the playoffs and a run at the World Series, dependable bullpen arms are necessary.
A Gelling Clubhouse:
Manny Machado and Tatis Jr exchanged quite a few words in the dugout with Machado saying “it’s not about you” repeatedly to Tatis pic.twitter.com/LYjf1gsq2L
— We Got Ice (@wegoticebb) September 19, 2021
Several reports emerged last season that there were disconnects between the players, coaches, and front office. Speculations were that this was the biggest contributing factor to the collapse of the Padres.
Between the fun of the 2020 season and the swag chain early on in 2021, the reports of a bad clubhouse came as a surprise. However, an inexperienced head coach with a plethora of other coaches from elsewhere appeared to not mesh well.
Bob Melvin brings a ton of experience as a head coach with a staff he worked alongside while with the Oakland A’s. It will be up to them to establish a strong clubhouse again.
Be Better Against the West:
— Bally Sports San Diego (@BallySportsSD) June 24, 2021
Expectations were for the National League West to be a race between the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the San Francisco Giants behind in third place. It did not end up that way. San Diego should have fared well in divisional play but utterly collapsed against the teams they play the most.
The only divisional team, the Padres, had a winning record against was the Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished in a tie for the worst record in baseball. The Padres’ record against Arizona? 11-8.
If the Padres have aspirations to win the division, the easiest way to do so is by beating the teams in the NL West.
Play in Front of Padres Fans in the Postseason:
— MLB Europe (@MLBEurope) September 21, 2020
It might seem simple, but the only sure way to a championship is to get to the playoffs. Once the postseason begins, nothing any of the teams did during the regular season matters. The Atlanta Braves just won the World Series with the worst regular-season record of the ten playoff teams. The Washington Nationals entered the 2019 playoffs with the second-worst record, and they won it all.
San Diego entered the 2021 season with high championship odds and will do so again in 2022. It all means nothing if the Padres don’t get there in 2022, and even more, questions will arise around the Padres. Plus, it doesn’t matter how the Padres get there because the friar faithful would be able to watch their team play in the postseason from the stands for the first time since 2006.