At what point does too much passion become a problem? Padres Chairman Ron Fowler seems to be searching for that limit. He made remarks Wednesday blasting departed Matt Kemp just a couple of months after his comments shipped James Shields for a starting pitcher who has been worse and now injured.
The Padres in the last couple of decades have had mostly stoic ownership who doesn’t go out and spend money. While Fowler, Mike Dee and the other members of the ownership group have, to date it has not worked out at all.
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"“We made a conscious decision to ship them out because we want people that are prepared to improve. If you’re making a lot of money and you think you’re already there, you’re not going to get better. … They had a bad attitude. You saw Kemp’s letter. Talk about a bunch of b.s.”"
The hard part I have with this is that A) He brought Kemp here who by all accounts has had two seasons of exactly what you expect out of Matt Kemp. We knew he didn’t have the defensive capability of Jason Heyward or Willie Mays. Did Fowler expect that?
“I’ll be damned if we’re going to pay high-priced talent to sit on their butts and not perform.”
Except that Kemp was on pace to hit more home runs this season than last…since being traded a few horrific outings, James Shields has pitched pretty well.
You remember what Fowler said about Shields right before he got traded, right?
"“It’s been embarrassing. I don’t know how else to put it. Our performance on the road trip, 1-7, was pathetic… To have a starter like [James] Shields perform as poorly as he did yesterday is an embarrassment to the team, an embarrassment to him. It’s about as frustrating as it can get… In a normal environment, if you had performed as well as we have over the last three years, you’d probably be unemployed. But it’s baseball, with guaranteed contracts. We’ve got to get beyond it.”"
At the time, I slightly applauded the fact that Fowler was showing he cared while also taking him to task for calling out a specific player the way he did. It was bad, and now that he has done it again with Kemp if you were a free agent and had the choice between the Padres who seem to just blame their free agent signings a year later or the Reds, who would you choose?
I know that Fowler is used to winning. I like that part. Yet he has to learn that publicly calling out players he agreed to sign, who performed at least relatively close to what we should expect from them given that in this case both were signed with age and health concerns. It makes the Padres look like sore losers who now not even two years after spending the money are unloading those contracts as fast as they can – in Kemp’s case literally for nothing.
If someone doesn’t reign Fowler in – the Padres will be a joke not just on the field but in the executive ranks as well. Remember Marge Schott and how owners black listed her after she was caught making racial slurs and praising Hitler? Fowler seems one drunken night with a microphone and a camera away.