Managing Expectations and Gauging Success

It’s weird how some people gauge success. For example, if I manage to not ruin my clothes while doing laundry I’m patting myself on the back for a job well done.

I think the best way to determine success is by managing expectations. As Padres fans, we haven’t had much to look forward to the last several years. Sure, there are always a few players on the roster who genuinely bring excitement (looking at you, Chase <3), but for the most part it’s a collection of talent that leaves much to be desired.

This year’s different, or so we’re being told. There’s legitimacy all over the Padres roster, enough for many baseball writers I respect and read regularly to call them this year’s “sleeper team”. They’re good, or at least have the upside to be really good. Many of us here at Padres Public think they could be an 85-90 win team… if they can stay healthy (sorry).

So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what should we consider a successful Padres season?

Anything short of a playoff appearance would be a failure. This’ll be Josh Byrnes’ third full season as the team’s general manager. He’s had plenty of time to make his vision for the team a reality. There’s been some bad luck. But spare me this bullshit of not having enough money. Every team has money, and if they’re not spending they’re profiting. The good thing is at least they recognize they have to win. They’ve made it very clear, both in their off-season acquisitions and in radio interviews.

Success is very subjective, though. If the Padres win, say, 87 games and miss out on the final wild card spot in the final week of the season, would that be such a horrible season? Definitely not. We all view success differently.

What would you consider a successful season for the Padres?

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I contribute when I contribute. Find me on twitter at @haha1721. That’s a terrible “outro”. I’ll try to work on it.

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  • GoldenBoy

    I just want to see the Padres play meaningful games throughout the season. There would be nothing worse than another sad Padres team. A losing team combined with Mike Pomeranz’s increased presence in the booth would give this Padres fan a level of depression he might not be able to handle.

    • USMC53

      Dude, I’d rather Pomeranz in the booth than Enberg. At least he knows the players’ names.

      • I’d rather have an untrained chimpanzee in the booth, but that’s not going to happen.

      • GoldenBoy

        Don’t channel your hate of Enberg into love of Pomeranz. Pomernaz is young. Enberg is old. If Mike Pomeranz becomes the play-by-play guy for the Pads, I might just have to abandon my passionate fandom, that or fall asleep during every broadcast. The guy is the worst type of ‘yes man’, non-San Diegan goober you could imagine. He’s the worst.

        I honestly feel like he’s in this position because someone owes someone else a favor. I’ve got no other explanation, cause the guy flat out sucks. And we have a great broadcasting tradition with Grant, Vasgersian, Coleman, Chandler, etc. Please God No Pomeranz.

  • VM David

    To be successful, they need to compete for the wild card spot and finish over .500. That’s the next logical step after two years of 76-86. As you’ve said, we should probably be looking for them to make at least the wild card game.

    If they aren’t in competition for a playoff spot until the very end, and especially if they finish under .500, it’s probably time to re-evaluate the field and general manager positions.

  • Billy Lybarger

    Competing for a WC would, in my mind, be a successful season. The pitching staff’s health is key to their competing, so fingers crossed and whatnot. However I do think Josh Byrnes has retained quite a bit of unproven depth at the high minor league level, so the young guys could come up and keep the season going if health fails some of the staff.
    Cashner and Johnson are looking ready to go. Ross is up and down, Kennedy is a 4, but Stults looks a bit off. If he falters, hopefully Byrnes pulls the trigger early on getting him out of the starting rotation, and moves in Erlin. Smith and Wisler can be ready if any other call-ups are required.

    I agree with VM David that another 76 win season should force the FO to reconsider
    management. And since Byrnes would most likely be retained, I’d think Black would be let go. I’d like to see all Moorad cronies weeded out of the organization as soon as possible, but think Byrens has a few seasons left to show his value to the owners.

  • Change the Padres

    Expectations: changes often, generally a comparison of most likely prior to the actual outcome.
    Success: World Series title.

    Tying success to expectations, in my opinion, only will excuse lackluster results. A team could theoretically never win anything while exceeding expectations every season.

    There is a difference between saying 87 wins isn’t horrible and 87 wins (sans WS title) is successful. I would argue it’s neither horrible nor successful. It’d be a pleasantly enjoyable failure.

  • 87 wins would constitute an 11 game improvement over the previous two seasons. In a sport where there can only be one champion I think most teams would qualify an 11 game improvement as a success. Would their fans? Probably not.

    Here’s how I’ll qualify success: An improvement upon 76 wins. But I don’t care so much about the win total during a season in which I don’t see them going to the playoffs anyway. For me success will be determined by the Padres taking steps toward winning the World Series. These steps would include locking up cheap younger players (Gyorko, Cashner, Cabrera, Ross come to mind) so that more expensive older players could be re-signed (Chase Headley), trades that can improve the team (in-season and off-season), drafting high ceiling players and then signing them, as well as spending more money in international markets.

    If Josh Byrnes is doing those things in 2014 then he’s doing his job. Whereas if he’s not doing those things and they pull off 87 wins . . . well then who cares?

  • Geoff Hancock

    I agree with the overall sentiment here. I’d say a successful season is playing meaningful games in September. I wouldn’t tie that to a win total as much because an 85 team could be competing until the last day for a wild card spot or a 90 win team could be left out in the cold. In either event, by mid-September I want to be scoreboard watching. If they are in that position then the season is a success in my mind.