This 2016 San Diego Padres season has turned into a train wreck. It’s early to proclaim the season as lost, but in reality this team just has too many issues to believe a major winning streak is on its way.
Injuries have indeed been a major factor in the demise of the team, as Tyson Ross the teams ace, went down after his opening day start. He has starting throwing, but is not likely going to be ready for game action for another three or four weeks at the very earliest. That is the sad reality of his injury. With the season at a loss, the franchise gains nothing by bringing him back too early. He will not be rushed back into action.
On top of Ross the team lost Yangervis Solarte early in the year to a leg injury. Cory Spangenberg, Alexi Amarista, Matt Thornton, Robbie Erlin and Jemile Weeks all have spent time on the D.L. as well. The team has had injury issues to deal with, but the inconsistency of the team in general has been maddening to watch as a fan. Getting smoked 16-0 through the first five innings on Tuesday was an embarrassment. Then they turn around and score 14 runs against the Mariners at home on Wednesday.
Look down at the Triple-A level and you see several exciting young players that can help the Padres now. Hunter Renfroe, Alex Dickerson, Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje have been tearing it up and each deserve a chance to do the same at the major league level. The problem is the three outfielders (Renfroe, Dickerson and Margot) are blocked by Matt Kemp, Jon Jay and Melvin Upton Jr. Each of the MLB trio is due big money for the 2016 season and each will surely play if they are healthy. In all honesty each has performed well with the bat and aren’t deserving of being benched either. The Padres are just in a bad position.
The problem is the Padres have way too many outfielders. Besides Kemp, Jay, Upton, Renfroe, Margot, and Dickerson, the team has Jabari Blash and Travis Jankowski as well. Both players are deserving of a shot too. There are just not enough roster spots to go around at the moment. Something has to be done.
If the Padres were to deal all three current starting outfielders they would be in a better place for the future. Sure, losing Kemp, Jay and Upton will hurt you offensively, but you cannot let the talents of these young minor league Padres go underutilized. The trio of outfielders in the minors could excel at the major league level if given an opportunity. They are not guaranteed success however, but each young outfielder has approached the pivotal part in their career where they deserve a chance.
Majority owner Ron Fowler was on local radio Wednesday morning (the mighty 1090) and basically called out the team for their play after a 1-7 road trip. His comments are refreshing, but a little too late to make a difference in this lost season. It’s obvious the team needs to change personnel within the roster. Trades are most definitely coming very soon.
The time is now to get the kids up. There must be trades and the future of this team must be developed. Renfroe, Dickerson and Margot make up the future of the Padres outfield. Now is the time to see what each player has and if they are legit major leaguers. Some Padres fans will view the trades of the veteran players as a firesale. Nothing could be further from the truth. This team is committed to spending money, but they must do it in a more beneficial way in the future. When you have a load of talent in the minor leagues at the outfield position, it is foolish to be invested in veteran outfielders long-term.
Expect the team to go over some major overhauls in the next few months. A ton of young players will be brought in through trades, the draft and the international market. A.J. Preller has a plan. The ownership group must stick with him and show support for what he is trying to accomplish. The season is still young, there is still time to turn things around and get back to respectability. I suspect that will happen once the kids are allowed to play. And that time is now. Work your magic A.J. Preller and make some moves.