A Merciful End

Hi there! I haven’t been around for awhile. A combination of toddler wrangling and a poor product on the field has lead to neither the time nor motivation to write much.

But those days are over! At least for today!

On September 17th, the Padres were officially eliminated from the post-season. With Tuesday’s 3-2 loss the Padres were guaranteed a below .500 finish, the 4th season in a row and the 6th in 7 seasons.

2014, while unmemorable on the field for the most part, was sadly all to memorable off the field. In January, we lost the voice of the Padres, Jerry Coleman. A devastating loss that was hard to comprehend.

Then June 16, 2014.

I attempted to write something a handful of times following the news that Tony Gwynn succumbed to cancer. I never finished it. Didn’t know how to write it, what to write, barely knew what to say. I was on public transportation when I received a text saying “Sorry about Tony Gwynn.” I didn’t know what that meant. Except, I did. Since then, my passion for 2014 Padres baseball was diminished. I’m sure the poor play on the field played into that. Mostly, I was just ready for the season to be over. 2014 Padres baseball just made me sad mostly.

Of course, a lesson we all learned this year was to stop saying “well, it can’t get worst than this.” Evereth Cabrera’s DUI, Cameron Maybin’s suspension, the Dodgers no-hitting the Padres, the Dodgers winning the West, the constant missteps by the ownership (Public Address announcer auditions, #BSPlaza, etc.). I’m ready to be done with this season.

Which isn’t to say it wasn’t without it’s bright moments. Two nights ago Joe Wieland got his first big league win, two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Ross and Cashner (Cashner in a more limited, injury riddled season and last night notwithstanding) have been spectacular to watch. But the moments have been limited and grossly overshadowed by the negative.

But the beauty of this is, there will be a 2015 season. And seeing how my childhood idol can’t die during that season, it literally has to be better than this one. The Padres probably won’t compete for a World Series next year. Could they sneak their way to a Wild Card? The Giants won the second Wild Card this year with 85 wins (pending this weekend). The Padres would have to increase their win total by 10, at minimum, to do so. That might be a tall order. Then again, crazier things have happened.

Here’s a few things I think would help, or perhaps not hurt, in that quest.

1) End the Yonder Alonso experiment. As someone who defended Alonso last year, this one hurts a bit. But it’s time to move on. It’s not working, he’s not the answer. Unfortunately, the free agent list of first basemen is not anything to get to excited about either. Michael Cuddyer, Lyle Overbay, Corey Hart, Carlos Pena, and Billy Butler all may be available this off-season. Are any of them a considerable upgrade over Grandal and/or Medica? I’m not so sure they are. That money is likely better spent elsewhere, like

2) Corner OF’s! There are basically two kinds of hitters the Padres should target. Power hitting right handed hitters (who’s knees aren’t made of glass) or speedy, line drive, gap hitters who can run wild around Petco. Nelson Cruz, Nyjer Morgan, and Josh Willingham are among the names that SORT of meet that criteria. But none meet that criteria as much as…

3) Yasmany Tomas. Tomas is the Cuban outfielder that teams who are kicking themselves for missing out on Abreu a year ago are determined not to miss out on this year. He has a big bat but seems less a sure thing than Abreu. Still, MLB Trade Rumors predicts a 7 year contract topping $100 million for Tomas. Is that in the Padres budget/plans. I’m guessing no. Then again, they have a lot of PR messes to clean up. Making a big, international, splash like this would go a long way perhaps.

4) If the Padres aren’t going to get markedly better via free agency, than the next option is to trade. Here’s what I don’t think they should do. Trade Cashner. Despite last night’s start, Cashner has shown that, when healthy, he is a major contributor to the biggest bright spot the Padres have, which has been their pitching. In 2013, Cashner was able to stay healthy all year. This season, not as lucky. Still, his value and potential are far too high to trade away.

5) Finally, Bud Black has one year left on his contract. He should get to manage out that contract. I don’t think this team loses because of Black. I’m not so sure they would win because of him either, but he’s managed to expectations every season. This year the Padres O/U for wins was 79 wins. They will fall right in that ballpark this year. No better, no worst. The team isn’t good enough to win right now. That’s not Black’s fault.

There are a ton of things that need to be done this off-season. How they will get done, and will they result in a season more interesting then this one remains to be seen. AJ Preller gives me hope for the future. And I’m curious to see what he does.

As for this season, good riddance.

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