But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of
great joy that will be for all the people.”
– Luke, 2:10
He’ll come around when the chimes ring out
it’s Christmas morn again
Peace on Earth will come to all
if we just follow the light
Let’s give thanks to the Lord above
’cause Santa Claus comes tonight
– Elvis Presley
Hey Santa, I could use a good Christmas. Really, I could just use a good holiday season. I don’t want only Christians to have a great season, I want Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and every other person of any religion or with any sort of goodwill to have substantial moments of peace and celebration. It’s been a rough year. Our body politic is in tatters, we’re 20 trillion in debt (we don’t even know who we owe it to) and life has become one big reality show, complete with commercials 24/7. Maybe it’s been that way since time immemorial and we just didn’t realize it. We do now.
Santa, I’m appealing to you on behalf of the Taco Train. As Robert Johnson, the great Delta blues singer, might say, we stand at the crossroads. On the one hand our team sucked in 2016, we’re paying almost as much for players to play for other teams as we pay our own players, and our general manager got accused of cheating and was suspended. Yeah, Debbie Downer squared. On the other hand we’ve accumulated more young talent than almost anyone in baseball, and the future appears bright. Still, we have to get to the future before the brightness can fully illuminate. Thus, the Taco Train is in need of some of your largess. I rarely ask your anything, Santa, other than an Amazon gift card. This time I’m appealing to your inner Taco Train.
What we want for Christmas besides joy and goodwill for all humanity are three innings eating arms. We’re desperate, we need some starting pitching. The Taco Train left the station headed for the Promised Land long ago but we’re going to experience some bumps and bruises along the way and we don’t want 2017 to be one huge Grand Canyon. We need a few crafty veterans to get us into the 6th. Even when not in contention for Mexican food of the year, we like our tacos with a little sriracha, maybe some jalapeno, a little enchilada on the side. We need more than just the taco shell. I don’t want to give up anything to get these pitchers either. We just gave up Josh Van Meter to acquire a Rule 5 catcher out of single-A who, at best, will back up Austin Hodges 20 games a year. To my way of looking at things, this is what’s called grasping at straws. Sure, VanMeter might only be a marginal prospect but there are so many former Padre prospects now cutting a swath across the baseball landscape, it makes us all ill. Maybe the trade will work out, who knows. That’s your department. But still. Find us some starting pitching, wrap them in a box with a bow, and drop it off at Petco on Christmas Eve. There’s a man named Preller who resides there who will be tickled pink. He’ll act like a Long Island teenager who just left his favorite deli on a glorious summer evening after guzzling a pastrami on rye.
I’m also asking for Luis Perdomo to spend the winter consolidating his gains. The Taco Train needs him to show up in the spring ready to build on his tremendous accomplishments from last year, and to take it to the next level. He needs to improve the control of his sinker, spot his four-seamer better, and be able to put batters away with his devastating hook. Historically, major leaguers often regress in their second season. That would be disastrous in Luis’ – and the Padres’ – case. We need “long-armed Luis” to continue his meteoric rise.
We also need Ryan Schimpf to cut down on his strikeout rate between 10 and 20% while still retaining most of his power. We don’t need him to turn out to be a one year wonder (in reality, a half season wonder). We need more of the same, only better. While practically setting a rookie season ISO record, he was bordering on strikeout records too, especially once the league figured him out. A little more balance please. Oh yeah, maybe you can loan him one of your Santa Claus gloves. Ryan doesn’t have much of one. We need him to pick up his defensive performance as well.
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