The 2015 season has not exactly gone as planned for the San Diego Padres. The team expected to at least compete for a playoff spot, but has failed to play with any kind of balance and currently sits on the outside looking in. The Padres team will not make the playoffs in 2015, and the team must now focus on the future of this franchise.
The season is essentially over, but the focus remains for Padres management. They are in a deep evaluation mode right now trying to determine who can help this team in 2016 and beyond. The coaches are also being evaluated as the teams coaching staff is certainly not set in stone. These dog days of summer will be a great time to see which Padres player is committed to winning and which players are just going through the motions.
The problems with the Padres team is that they are restricted by being mostly right-handed. The team also has defensive liabilities that are very concerning to say the least. The outfield consisted of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers to begin the season. Myers hurt himself in the second month of the season, so he has been disabled for a while. Both Justin Upton and Kemp have remained mostly healthy and each has been locked in left and right field. Next season Justin Upton could be gone via free agency and Myers could be either at first base or in left field. Who really knows. The Padres could easily go in numerous directions with their team.
It’s obvious that changes need to be made. The offense will likely be tweaked as the team searches for a shortstop of the future. They have no viable options on the Major League roster, or for that matter in the higher levels of the Minor Leagues. They need a shortstop and the team needs one now. That will likely be A.J. Preller’s main focus in the off-season but most Padres fans suspect he will not stop there.
The Padres pitching staff has been hit and miss all season long. James Shields has not been horrible, but he will be making $21 million dollars next season and to justify that paycheck he must improve. The numerous home runs are concerning but he has increased his strike out numbers overall. The fact Shields has been hit hard from time to time has not been from lack of velocity or stuff. The problem has been from lack of command. That issue can be worked out, and when it is a more consistent Shields should emerge. He has the bulldog attitude you seek from a starter, and that type of accountability is rare this day and age. Ultimately, his contract is hefty, and he must pitch better for the Padres.
The starting trio of James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner could be broken up for next season. The team has explored offers for each of these pitchers and there seems to be a sense the team is ready to move on from one of them. James Shields makes the most sense financially but in losing Shields the team would need a pitcher to step up to fill his role. Like it or not Shields is clearly the leader of the pitching staff and losing him in the club house would be tough. Padres fans can understand the thought process though, as Shields is due at least $63 million for the next three seasons.
Ross and Cashner have each been rumored to be in trade talks as well. Tyson Ross seemed to be the popular choice by other Major League teams. Most discussions reportedly had teams coveting him by far. Ross is due one more year of arbitration than Cashner and has shown more consistency. Ross would not be cheap though, and figures to be a part of the Padres future plans. Of all the players on the Padres roster, one would figure Tyson Ross would be on the short list of untouchable players. He probably will not be dealt unless the team is blown away with an offer. He could be extended by the team in the near future as well.
Andrew Cashner is who the Padres would like to move and get a great return for. Considering Cashner is who the Padres got in return for Anthony Rizzo, the team values him highly. Cashner has had problems staying healthy, but this season (knock on wood) has pitched with no health issues at all. His 4-12 record in no way indicates how he has thrown this season. Cashner has had horrible luck this year as the team has let him down defensively and offensively. His value is low right now and A.J. Preller is not the type of G.M. that sells when a players value is low. Cashner has unbelievable stuff and has yet to put it all together. That will happen eventually one day, question is, will that be in a Padres uniform?
The emergence of Colin Rea has been nice for the team. Rea was not highly regarded coming into the season, but has had an unbelievable year and has obviously put it all together. In his few starts, he has shown a lot of maturity and poise. Padres management is very eager to see what Rea will provide for the team long-term. With his emergence the team has flexibility with the staff.
Ian Kennedy was reportedly put on waivers and claimed, but the team failed to reach an agreement on a trade and he was taken off waivers. It looks like Kennedy will remain with the team for the entire 2015 season, but his future is a bit cloudy. Kennedy is due for free agency, but the club might offer him a qualifying offer of 1 year-$16 million dollars. Kennedy could elect to take that and be on the roster for the 2016 season. It all depends on how he pitches for the rest of the year. If he throws well, he will likely get a multi-year offer from some Major League team. If that happens the Padres will get a nice draft pick.
There could be an August deal in which the team moves a starting pitcher. More than likely the team will explore trades in that regard during the off-season when there are no waiver limitations when it comes to deals. There are a ton of quality starting pitchers that are free agent next season. If the team where able to clear some payroll, you could see the Padres go after some pitchers like Yovani Gallardo, Mat Latos, Scott Kazmir and Jordan Zimmerman. All are free agents and could interest the team. The Padres future is exciting as the team is trying to change the image of the franchise. Not an easy task by any means, but the fans appreciate the efforts that are being put in.