The San Diego Padres Need to be Better in 2019

Credit: AP Photo

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

The future is bright in San Diego and there are reasons to be excited, but the 2019 season is a year where the team needs to get collectively better at the major league level.

For the past few seasons, all the talk from the current San Diego Padres ownership has been about “the future.”

Since 2016, A.J. Preller has been overseeing an actual rebuild. After his big experiment in 2015 where he acquired All-Stars that amounted to nothing, he has shipped off those players and rebuilt a farm system he tore down shortly after he arrived.

The result is the top farm system in Major League Baseball. The Padres have nine players ranked in the Top 100, headlined by Fernando Tatis, Jr., who is ranked the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball.

The Padres have been absolutely dismal in 2018. The team finished with a 71-91 record in 2017, good enough for fourth place in the NL West. It was nice to finish ahead of the San Francisco Giants and look down on their misery. In 2018, the Padres are on pace to lose 100 games. They are the worst team in the National League, and are on track to select a player with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 MLB First Year Player Draft.

Last season was all about the “tank.” This season should not be about the tank, but here we are. Even after signing Eric Hosmer, the team is worse. The offense has been stagnant. The pitching has been tough to watch. The bullpen, however, has been the bright spot for the team, even after trading Brad Hand and Adam Cimber.

The Padres have called up Luis Urias, and just the announcement brought some excitement to the fan base. Imagine the response when Tatis, Jr. is added to the 40-man roster. That could be as early as Opening Day 2019. Fans might be watching a shortstop battle between Tatis, Jr. and Freddy Galvis after signing an extension. (Just kidding… or am I?)

Padres fans have been hearing for a while now that the future is bright. Fans want to believe it, but watching this team lose so much in 2018 makes it difficult. Sure, half the people in the current starting lineup won’t be around going forward. The chances of watching Jose Pirela and Cory Spangenberg lessen by the day.

The 2019 season cannot be anything like 2018. Fans are tired of hearing “the future is bright” when the present is so bad. People can read farm recaps and look at prospect rankings, but what they want is a winning major league product. Fans don’t want to see Clayton Richard run off of the mound, just like they don’t want to see the offense get no-hit for more than half of a game. Even if they don’t contend in 2019, the Padres at least need to be a team worth watching.

This offseason will say a lot about how committed this regime is to turning the future into the present. The Padres don’t have a legitimate staff ace. They need to address a cluttered outfield. They have several prospects to protect from the Rule 5 draft. The offense needs to find a way to get on base (I’m looking at you, Matt Stairs).

If 2019 is anything like 2018, Padres ownership might as well talk to themselves when they talk about the future. Building a contender is a matter of progression. This team has regressed in 2018. However, as bad as this team has been, the front office should know what needs to be addressed before next season.

Your move, Padres.

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12 thoughts on “The San Diego Padres Need to be Better in 2019

  1. I am going to laugh sooooo hard when you have to eat your words. If you feel that pessimistic go root for another team, y’all sound like raiders fans and it’s disgusting that the padres have you people as fans. If your not gonna even give them a chance to prove you wrong. Stop watching the padres; it’s just gonna give you a heart attack and looks like it’s causing more stress than it’s releaving. Just wait until urias is hitting 2nd, Margot is leading off and renfroe is hitting clean up behind tatis; plug in Myers and hosmer as your 5 and 6 and suddenly that lineup looks pretty strong. I’m sick and tired of padre fans complaining like little girls who didn’t get any candy. Stfu and support your team and your city reguardless

    1. Or just look at statistics and records and the way talent has developed in the farm system. Those are called facts and they are not positive, no matter how many articles you read. PS I am a Raiders fan and I’m guardedly optimistic about my football team. The Padres have not addressed several issues with their club. If our “strong lineup” involves a position player who can’t stay healthy and who they can’t find a place for in the field, and a first baseman who is already declining, exactly how strong do we look? Look at team OBP, look at anything, we have massive cause for concern. Or, simply look at who has emerged as a credible bat in our farm system in the last 5 or 25 years. I’d love to eat my words but you need to eat cereal that makes your IQ hover higher than 90.

    2. PS: Exactly what part of Margot’s or Renfroe’s performance has you excited? One week clips? Wow….

  2. Padres in 2017: Batting Avg .234 (30th), OBP .299 (30th), SLG .393 (28th), OPS .692 (29th). Padres in 2018: Batting Avg. .236 (30th), OBP .298 (30th), SLG .376 (28th), OPS .674 (29th)

    1. Hunter Olson: Read this comment by someone who understands basic statistics….. his name is Roddy Reta

  3. Mike, I sincerely commend you for being honest and simply stating what is the true situation of this ball club. Indeed it is massively difficult to sit and project about a bright future when there is not a single player, especially on the offensive side, producing anything… or, improving or showing a comfort level at the major league level.

    Just for reference sake, the current leader in RBI’s (tied for 1st) is Freddy Galvis. No knock on him, I’m happy to have a Tempe/Gomez type of Padres SS in the fold who actually plays a little better defense than the aforementioned… but at no time in Padres history was a Garry Templeton or Chris Gomez fighting it out for the RBI lead on our team. This is beyond sad and a perfect example of how terribly this organization has been handled in the last five (or 15) years.

    Again, and unfortunately, this is a question of management, coaching, and identity. Preller has proven over the past several years that he has no real gauge on how to develop or train talent (or even acquire it or retain it). So here we are: Wil’s has played like what, 80 games? And even adding Eric Hosmer, as you mentioned, has only made things worse; including the man himself. Hosmer is declining faster than expected and that is most likely not based on him, but based on the absolute sad state of this club. Every hitter needs a little help now and then, and we simply don’t have it- at any level.

    At this point, and in all agreement, there is little to be excited about. I believe we have good arms coming, but then again, we have Darren Balsely, the lone bright spot in anything past AA. And we’re done after that, we have Mac and Andy and a host of incomparable poor coaches akin to Barry Bonds when he coached for his single year in Miami. Unlike the Marlins however, who seem to be a better organization, we keep our inept formerly steroid glorified coach tight in our plans, and pretend things will work out. Meanwhile, we let Doc walk, or even Boch many years back. Our tradition is to scrap talent from the top down, such as going back as far as Fred McGriff the Alomars, Ausmus, etc… or more recently, players who end up as platoon players on good teams- we’ve let go a bevy of them… Isn’t it odd that Gyorko, Grandal, or even goddamn Alonso have excelled elsewhere? Isn’t it amazing we can justify parting with Solarte? How is it we can afford to part with decent players who simply need a little adjustment and move along? We did it with Rizzo…. we will do it with Renfroe. But hey, “It’s okay, Wil is going to play 3rd.” (no, Wil, isn’t really a major leaguer, but that’s okay, we have a few more years to pretend, at what 20 mil per?). Granted, Wil won’t succeed in any club because he can’t figure out basic body maintenance, but that’s not really his job… do we actually have coaches for that? Finley works for the Pads and he is a yoga/pilates guru… hmm, maybe they can hire the broadcaster named Steve Finley to help Wil understand that his muscles and body have to be cared for?????????????????????? Only on the Padres……

    In summary, we have absolutely no evidence to suggest that any “prospect” will excel in a Padres uniform. IF we get lucky, sure… some players destine themselves for greatness, but as a Padre, just like Tony Gwynn (who actually did have some good coaching in his career) we need players who are simply headed that direction. If Urias or Tatis are not on that level, they will emerge as another Renfroe or Spangy, Janko, Margot, etc. Granted, the projections of these players differ but the guidance they’ve faced is the same.

    Regardless, thank you for being a credit to independent Padres reporting. In opposition to some of your colleagues, you are not a pundit and I salute that. This team really has no end in sight for its mediocrity and it’s getting very old hearing about “tomorrow”. How about “today”? How about “next year”? -It’s not going to happen. AJ’s job is to look good enough to where he gets scooped by the Red Sox- there really is no pressure on him to produce a thing. He looks great now, simply trading and amassing unofficial talent. Nowhere in any reality in the MLB is he expected to produce a winning team because he is a Padres GM and Ron Fowler is very happy looking great raking in cash for a shit product. AJ’s only being evaluated on his trades, most of which, will never show anything. Perhaps we should just wait for the Tin Caps or the Storm to win big, that’s all this is really about. Fake Padre news, tomorrow, future, waiting, promise. Sickening.

    If AJ Preller’s job was measured like ANY real GM on a competitive team or a Padres’ team which actually was expected to produce, he would lose his job.

    Thank you for not being a pundit like your colleagues. We can only polish the Padres turd so many times.

  4. As a fan I want to be proud to root for my team, even when it loses. That starts with ethical behavior, and extends to winning performance on the field.
    It’s hard to root for a club that

    1) Looked the other way on the medical records scandal. There should be no room for sleaze bag behavior like this. Preller should have been fired.
    2) Then they turned around and extended Preller before he showed any results whatsoever at the ML level. Can ownership really be this dumb? The answer seems to be yes.
    3) Has steroid cheater McGwire in uniform. He disgraced the sport and himself. He is not part of our baggage the way Bonds is in SF, so why do we have this lying douchebag on staff?
    4) Is such a clown show on any move above trading veterans for prospects. The Myers extension was a mistake, but teams do make mistakes. The Hosmer signing was the biggest blunder any team made last off season. It was embarrassing to watch that press conference and listen to that prattle and realize we have the dumbest ownership/front office this side of Baltimore or the Mets.

    We hear constantly how we have the best farm system, and maybe we do, and maybe we’ll be a good team some day. But in the mean time we are the laughing stock of the sport. And through it all the fans are pandered to and talked down to, kept distracted by talk of changing the color of the uniforms.

    When will this be a team one can proud to root for?

    1. Tanned Tom, as always, you get it. We happen to not be able to drink in the pandering or punditry, or drink the kool-aid. The habit of reporting these days is to report how good things are. The Pads can be down 10 runs in a game and the site will mention some bleak detail like Renfroe’s single hit which went 450 feet… meanwhile we lost by 8 runs.

      I’m sick of the independent writers trying to say we have something here when, unlike the Cubs or the ‘Stros, we are showing absolutely no progress in our player development. This isn’t about anything but pretending. Preller is absolutely lost in 9 out of 10 GM categories. He’s amassing “talent” but even if that talent works out a a normative rate, we will not see it for 3-4 years in a productive manner. That’s what most people seem to miss. But, then again, that’s being massively positive about the whole thing. In 3-4 years, Preller will be working for a high dollar club, and most of these guys these pundits write about, will be unknowns, or, playing for other clubs and succeeding. Meanwhile, guys like Big Mac will have a job, Andy or something like him will have a job. Fowler, if he has his pig heart replaced, will have a job. And people will still be writing about one good thing, or “tomorrow”.
      As far as the current ownership goes, this team will never actually be good again. .500 is a dream. They’re fucking dirtbags man. I miss the old days where we could wait five years and make a run at 85 wins. We won’t see that again for years.

  5. Mike, while I respect your opinion. I think the padres & preller have put themselves in a great position going foward. Our pitching is going to be really good in the next year or 2. Imagine a rotation of paddack, luchessi, nix, logan allen ect.
    Were deep and that only opens the door for multiple ways to contend. The future is bright, and im excited

    1. Sure, if you don’t count anything with position players, hitting, defense, coaching outside of Balsely or facts, you are 100% correct. If you ignore the articles and look at what is going on, you might change your mind however.

  6. Good article Mike. I’m sick of hearing about what the Cubs and Astros did. How could our 2017 team, with less talent and more HRs , be better than the 2018 version ? I’m not sure what’s causing these issues, but as a full season ticket holder, we should be doing much better this year. The one thing I was concerned about at the beginning of the year, was the starting pitching. I’m glad Luchessi and Lauer took big steps forward, but rookie pitchers generally need a full season in the majors before they are steady contributors. I don’t see Preller as a good judge of starting pitchers. He let Chacin walk after a decent 2017 as a Padre, and now he is having great success with Milwaukee. The pressure will be on SPs L & L next year, while the next batch of rookie pitchers put in their year of education.
    Of course, better run production would go a long way

    1. “Like”.
      Yeah, both clubs developed talent. We need to get lucky there, we can’t do that. Pitching, maybe, it’s the only shot, not sure how we justify anything with defense and hitting. Isn’t it incredible how OBP seems to be massively ignored as we watch this team year after year? I’m curious to see how a potential star coming up embraces a system that teaches and instills basically nothing in terms of plate approach, strategy, or skill. Trade Tatis and Urias now and give them a chance to be HoF’s on a real club…………….. *sigh*

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