With Opening Day just a say away, it is time to ponder where the San Diego Padres stand. And while it doesn’t look pretty at the moment, there is hope.
Finally, baseball begins again with three games scheduled for April 2nd. The following day the San Diego Padres play their season opener in Los Angeles against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. Last year the season also began against L.A. The team endured a 25-0 drubbing in three games at home, the worst start in major league history.
San Diego fans would obviously prefer to look to the future rather than reliving that historic debacle. But we also need to hold General Manager A.J. Preller accountable for the decisions he has made since being hired August 6, 2014.
If Preller had had the patience and humility to wait a year before dismantling the existing farm system and adding aging veterans the team still has to pay, the team would be that much closer to that elusive winning season. The goal posts on the winning season keep moving, by the way, now pegged at 2020 or later for any kind of playoff appearance. There is no doubt that his moves set the team back and extended the futility.
When Preller fired Bud Black, the Padres record stood at 32-33, and the team has not come close to .500 since then. It became apparent when interim manager Dave Roberts moved on after one day on the job and Pat Murphy was hired, that the front office had reacted without any real plan.
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True, a plan has finally emerged, and the farm system’s rankings have improved dramatically. However, most of the talent resides in the lower levels of the minors. Also, there’s a reason prospects have been considered suspects until they actually perform at the highest level.
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated predicts the Padres will “not be pretty to watch in 2017, but the long-term vision here is more clear than it was before, and that should hopefully keep the Padres off the 70-something-win treadmill of mediocrity that they’ve occupied for too long.”
With that hope, let the games begin.