From The Editor: What Should The Padres Do In The Second Half?
By Billy Brost
41-54. Good enough for third place in the division. This is still a far cry from a playoff-caliber team. The general manager has already been fired, and the search for a new one continues. The manager and hitting coach are on the hot seat, as the team is hitting as a historically poor rate. Even their lone All-Star representative didn’t see the field. The franchise lost its most beloved icon. What else could go wrong for the San Diego Padres in 2014, and what should they do now to move forward during the second half of the season?
It’s simple. The team needs to hire their general manager. Someone with vision, and a direction to take this franchise from mediocrity, to championship contender. Don’t sit there and say “We’re a small market team, and without a big payroll, we’ll never contend.” Hogwash. The Oakland A’s contend. The Tampa Bay Rays contend. For the record, the Padres have a payroll exceeding $90 million dollars and we all know where that has gotten the team this season.
The three-headed GM monster led by Omar Minaya, needs to make the other 29 teams around the league away that anyone with a medium to larger contract, that can bring back a good catch on the trade market is available. Yes, that means it’s time to put on the big boy pants, and admit that the team on the field needs to be completely blown up, and a rebuild is in order. That means saying good-bye to players such as Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, Ian Kennedy, Huston Street, Seth Smith, Chris Denorfia, Joaquin Benoit, Will Venable, and Cameron Maybin. These are the pieces that will fetch a return–and a good one.
Once these pieces have been disposed of, and a new general manager is in place, it’s audition time. Not only for prospects such as Jonathan Galvez, Mallex Smith, and Austin Hedges, but for the current manager and his staff. Like it or not, Bud Black has been just as much of the problem with his inconsistent lineups and platooning as Josh Byrnes was with this flawed roster. Pick a lineup and stick with it. It’s hard for hitters to get into any kind of groove or consistent hitting pattern when you’re sitting two or three times per week.
Regardless of what happens, I believe a new GM is going to want “his guy” in that dugout, and Bud Black will walk the plank, along with Phil Plantier. There are multiple directions a new GM could go, bringing in an unproven presence into the dugout, such as former Padres’ Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Dave Roberts, or the new GM could go for a manager with a proven track record, such as Dusty Baker or even…Bobby Valentine. The point is, the culture HAS to change in San Diego. From ownership down to the lowest level minor league prospect. You’ve heard the terms “The Cardinal Way or the Oriole Way”? Well, with the passing of the great Tony Gwynn, the lasting impact that he has on the Padres’ franchise, is that with a new voice and a new direction, the team could take the approach and professionalism of Mr. Padre, and creat “The Padre Way”…and it starts now.