With the sun setting on the recently completed 2019 Baseball season, we can now turn our attention to the beginning of what might be the most anticipated Hot Stove season in the history of the San Diego Padres franchise.
Now that ownership has all but mandated a return to relevance, A.J. Preller and company have quite the opportunity in front of them this off-season. What will they do though is the 300 million dollar question? The first big domino has already fallen with the hiring of new manager Jayce Tingler. Assembling his coaching staff is already taking shape as well with the additions of both Bobby Dickerson and Wayne Kirby.
There is also the unveiling of the new uniforms and the return to the Brown on November 9th that will be a welcome sight back to their identity of seasons past.
But this Hot Stove season isn’t about just upgrading the managerial and coaching staff or the uniform change, this is about upgrading the roster from a 70-92 San Diego Padres team that fell flat on their behinds as soon as the second half of the year started. With a roster crunch never seen in these parts the new regime will have an entirely different look from the one that finished off this once promising season.
A 40-man roster that begin with 51 players on it (including players on the IL) before the last pitch of the World Series has already seen removal of players who know longer fit into the long and short-term picture of a team looking to make the jump back into the playoff scene.
The longest tenured Friar had been Robbie Erlin before his release into the free agent market. Along with declining options on two relief pitchers who barely made a dent with the team this past season in Aaron Loup and Adam Warren, the filing into free agency for Craig Stammen, the Phillies claim on pitcher Robert Stock, sending down Brett Kennedy, and the trade of fan favorite Travis Jankowski to the Cincinnati Reds for international pool money, the process has already begun.
That is a lot of turnover in a short period. Considering there are still four players who have to be removed from the 40-man by Mondays deadline this is truly the beginning to what will surely be the most anticipated month since this ownership and front office group assumed control of this team.
Between Mondays deadline to get the roster to the mandatory 40-man limit and the Winter meeting which will be held in San Diego this year between December 9-12, we should see a lot of activity. Note, that the last time the Winter Meeting were held in America’s finest city A.J. Preller earned himself the nickname of “Rock Star” G.M.
Will the Friar Faithful get to see some more of his best hits this time around? The guess is yes.
This roster needs an influx of proven major league players, not players we are still hoping to develop at the highest level. In all honesty we have seen some serious regression from players we once valued pretty darn high and expected to help lead them into their next contention window.
If the second half collapse showed us one thing they need to get better in many areas. The most glaring is plate discipline. The recently completed playoffs and World Series showed why the teams were in the place they were in. Major league at-bats, working the count and taking pitches is something that showed how far the Friars are from this area. Far too many strikeouts and not a lot of walks is a recipe for disaster in this day and age of baseball.
Finding players that can work counts and have professional at-bats that equal to getting on base is a must.
So where do they began and what will this team look like come the Winter Meetings. For fans of the San Diego Padres this will either be the best off-season in team history or the beginning of the end for the Preller era.
Considering the importance of his job continuance and the mandate by co-Owner Ron Fowler that the 2020 season be the start of our winning window, the “Rock Star” G.M. will once again be tasked with making this an immediate winner next year.
Let’s hope he learned from the ghosts of the fateful off-season of 2015 and turns this into a team that the fan base craves and deserves.
For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres 2019-20, off-season, be sure to visit Friars on Base all season long.