A Reactionary Tale of Padres Fans

Each and everyone one of our readers I consider to be well-educated.  If not in the facets of life or traditional education, then in the verse of baseball.  I truly believe that the readers of this site understand the game and appreciate the intricacies of putting together a ball club.  Yet, every so often the reactionary fan in all of us grabs the well-educated fan by the collar, drags him to the nearest bathroom, and gives him the meanest swirly seen since high school.

I’m guilty of this as much as all of you. I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again.  That’s both the beauty and the curse of being a baseball fan.  The passion.  However, I’ll ask Padres fans one thing.  Take a step back from the Anthony Rizzo trade.  Take a step back from the reactionary feelings you all might be experiencing.  Go deeper, and analyze the trade like you’re a baseball GM.

Not everyone was a fan of the move that sent Anthony Rizzo to Chicago.  Fair enough, but why?  Why have so many Padres fans been disappointed by the move?  I’ve yet to hear from the Chicken Friars readers, so I’m speaking in general terms here, basing this piece on Internet reaction mostly.  There are three main reasons I can think of; Rizzo was part of the deal that saw us lose our saving grace in Adrian Gonzalez, fans value Rizzo’s upside despite his short audition to the Show last season, or fans simply don’t know enough about Andrew Cashner to get excited.

I’ve given you my analysis of the trade in yesterday’s article, so I won’t go into great analytical detail here, but let’s explore each of the three possibilities I laid out above.

1) Rizzo was part of the Gonzalez deal

So what?  The Padres were going to lose Adrian Gonzalez no matter what.  They made a move that has still yet to develop, but included one player who now resides in Chicago.  If Anthony Rizzo were to continue his struggles in San Diego, would anyone care that he was once a chip in the Gonzalez deal?  Rizzo struggled last season and found himself low enough on the first base depth chart that he may not have been called up from Triple-A next season at all.

2) Fans love Rizzo (or Rizzo-mania)

When a losing team is given something to hope for, something to dream of, and a reason to get excited, it’s hard to watch the source of the joy head out of town.  That’s what has happened with Rizzo.  Locked in a horrible season, the Padres brought Anthony Rizzo up to get a look at his Major League ability.  Padres fans were instantly excited.  I remember watching him in Tucson, and I too felt that jolt of energy knowing he’d be swinging the stick with the big league club.  His first few at-bats showed us everything we could have hoped for and more, but then Rizzo took a turn.  He struggled the rest of the way and was eventually demoted back to Tucson.  But the shine of those first few at-bats – the booming double, the hard single, the line drive home run – would not wear off for some fans.

3) Fear of the unknown

Andrew Cashner was on no one’s radar.  Most fans probably never heard of him before the Rizzo trade.  And that’s scary.  Read number 2, then put yourself in each of those fans’ shoes, watching Rizzo leave in exchange for a guy you’ve never heard of?  That’s tough.  Yet, Cashner is someone to get excited about.  I’m not sure the Padres have ever had a pitcher who could throw as hard as him.  His career is just getting started, but he has shown the flashes of success that make him exciting.  For those who are upset about Rizzo’s trade because the Padres couldn’t even land a “name” player in return, research Cashner.  Read up on him.  Let his numbers, videos, and scouting reports act as the introduction you need to turn Cashner from unknown to known.

The life of a fan is reactionary in nature.  A hard single scores a run and fans react.  An up and in fastball brushes a batter back and fans react.  To be a fan, you must be ready to react at a moments notice.  You must be willing and able to summon the proper emotions to react to a situation that often takes mere seconds to play out.  So it is counter-intuitive to leave our reactionary tendencies alone when a trade is made.  But if we did, perhaps we all could discover, or at least understand, what Josh Byrnes and the entire front office saw when they traded Anthony Rizzo.

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  • tomwaits213

    A top 50 prospect in all of baseball typically brings back more than a relief pitcher who’s achieved mediocre results and is coming off a significant shoulder injury. There are legitimate reasons to question why this trade had to be made, both in terms of the return and the timing (QB controversy, my Aunt Fanny), and dismissing all those who do so as being too emotional is insulting.

    If you only get Cashner for Rizzo — and you even have to add in Cates to get it done, because Cates is worth more than Na — then don’t make the trade. There’s no QB controversy unless you let it happen.

  • ChickenFriars

    @tomwaits213 You missed the point of this whole piece. You can absolutely disagree with the trade. All I’d like to see is some logical reasoning behind the disagreement. For example, you gave the reasoning of Rizzo being a top-50 prospect. Fair enough, and a better argument than simply saying, “this trade is stupid!” You have some reasoning behind your feelings. That’s all I’m looking for, and you rarely see that in reaction. Thanks for reading. And as a side note, I could go into a whole in-depth argument against simply disliking a trade based on one player’s prospect rating vs another, but that’s probably better for another time.

  • tomwaits213


    @ChickenFriarsI don’t believe I missed the point at all. I don’t know which “reactions” you’re judging, but the negative reactions I’ve seen, all over the interwebs, have been based almost entirely on the concept of value, not on emotions like “love” or “fear of the unknown.” Maybe I read a more sabremetric cross-section of Padre sites, but I see a lot of people who think Byrnes used a $5 bill to buy a $3 cup of coffee, left the $2 as a tip, and then tossed another single on top of the counter as he walked away.

  • ChickenFriars

    @tomwaits213 That was one of the greatests analogies I’ve read on this trade or any trade. Listen, I think many CF readers do read the more Sabermetric sites, but I still don’t see the problem with the trade. Again, I am fine with people disagreeing with the trade. I just want some discussion behind the disagreements. Also, you’ve inspired me. Check back tomorrow afternoon if you will and we will certainly continue the discussion about the trade itself rather than just fan reaction.