Can the San Diego Padres be a competitive team next season or are they still a few years away from their goal?
For more than a few years, fans have been told by ownership that the San Diego Padres would compete during the 2019 season or 2020 at the very latest.
The 2019 season is here, and the Padres competed for a few months, but the lack of pitching stunted their potential success. With so much youth in the rotation, the team was unable to keep its bullpen fresh. Inconsistency plagued the club, and play has suffered as they currently battle to stay out of the cellar.
There are still hopes for next season, but being a competitive unit is not a guarantee for this franchise.
The Padres have several concerns that need to be fixed. Putting the ball in play consistently and cutting down on the strikeouts is a top priority. Some defensive issues need to be resolved, as well. Then there is the fact the team has to have starting pitchers to step up their game. Either within the organization or outside it, the team needs better efforts from their starting staff. They cannot continually tax the bullpen each day.
Chemistry did not seem to be an issue with this team at times this season, but a unit without Franmil Reyes seems a bit more reserved and business-like. Perhaps the young team needed to concentrate more on the game rather than having fun. It remains to be seen if the loss of La Mole will have a lasting effect on this unit when it comes to wins and losses. For the Padres, it will take time to recapture the joy he brought to the team. The fans miss the big man. That is for sure.
San Diego has a very bright future with all these talented young players. There is a lot to be content about if you are a Padres fan. But at the same time, the team has not made the playoffs in over ten years and have not won a playoff game since 2006. Fans have every right to skeptical.
This winter will be interesting. San Diego has plenty of assets at the major league level and within their top-ranked farm system. There is an opportunity to make necessary changes for the better. Slowly, the pressure will start to be applied onto the back of general manager A.J. Preller. The Padres are his franchise. He built it. Now it is time to start performing.