The Editor’s Desk with Billy Brost: What Can Fans Believe?
By Billy Brost
The excitement hasn’t quite worn off of the hiring of new San Diego Padres’ GM A.J. Preller just yet. The way the team finished the 2014 season, has to give cause for some enthusiasm heading into next season. Or does it? We’ve heard this same song and dance before from the Friars. Struggle for most of the season, turn it on in the second half when it’s too little, too late. Why should we as fans believe any different heading into the winter and into next season?
A.J. Preller, that’s why. He has an extensive background in scouting international talent. He has assembled a front office of quality, long-tenured scouts with a similar eye for talent. Ownership has given him their blessing to spend as needed, but I’m guessing within reason. The payroll heading into the season was over $90, so a slight increase to over triple-digits could do wonders for what this team can do in terms of getting impact bats to support a stellar starting rotation and bullpen. They have pitching depth in which to deal from. That isn’t a luxury that many teams have. The Padres farm system is ranked #6, and has several prospects who could make an impact over the next couple of years.
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So what should fans believe? We’ve seen the exodus of many personnel and staff members that served under former GM Josh Byrnes. That isn’t a bad thing. As Vince Lombardi once said:
"“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”"
This long-respected quote from one of the greatest coaches of all-time couldn’t be more true about the current state of the San Diego Padres. I don’t believe for one second that A.J. Preller came to San Diego, and will be content with the status quo. When a franchise needs an overhaul, and needs new direction, it often takes a new voice, a new approach, and a tolerance for zero b.s. to get it done. The rebuilding of the Padres won’t be an overnight project. It will take a couple of seasons.
The Padres aren’t nearly as bad as say, the Chicago Cubs were when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over. The Padres, had they had ANY offense at all, even the league average, would most likely have been in the Wild Card hunt until the final weekend of the season. You can build a solid foundation upon young, quality pitching, and add the bats as needed. Why should fans buy into another rebuilding project and another chance at turning the corner?
Because that’s what we as fans have to do when our teams have been down in the dumps for several years. I firmly believe that if the Padres don’t show marked improvement in 2015, with added talent from Preller and his staff, that Bud Black is a dead man walking, perhaps as soon as the All-Star Break if things go awry. Preller will not sit by and watch his first crack to run a front office go down in flames because that’s how it’s always been in San Diego. No, we as fans should be pumped, excited, enthusiastic, and most of all, supportive of what A.J. Preller wants to do with the franchise. Why? He hasn’t given us ANY reason not to trust him.