As everyone knows by now, yesterday news broke that the Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said that the team was going to offer Chase Headley a long term deal that would make him the highest paid player in Padres history. Headley’s response?
“To be honest, this is not something we’ve discussed,” Headley said at Wrigley Field.
These recent actions, coupled with the off-season, is the complete opposite of the motto the owners claimed, during the press conference in August of 2012, that they would be living by: “Under promise and over deliver”. The media were absolutely livid with the owners at that press conference, because quite frankly they didn’t give them anything to write about except that Ron Fowler doesn’t like to be called Mr. Fowler and that the group would not be discussing team matters in public. I thought it was actually a bit of fresh air as I’m sick of being promised things by past groups, only to be disappointed time and time again.
Let’s rewind a bit to the 2012-2013 off-season. Immediately as the off-season was set to kick off the Padres made it known that starting pitching would be their main priority.
“I realize a lot of teams will be out there looking for starting pitching. It will certainly be a focus for us,” general manager Josh Byrnes said on Wednesday, just before the Padres played their final game of the regular season.
Obviously after the 2012 season, which saw 15 different starting pitchers used, it’s safe to say the Padres had a need there. Young starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland were already out from the get go thanks to Tommy John surgeries. Casey Kelly was still raw and appeared to need some seasoning still. Andrew Cashner pitched 46.1 innings in 2012 and is notorious for not staying healthy. They needed depth and they needed it badly. Fast forward a little bit to November and Byrnes had this to say.
“We have focused most of our energy on starting pitching … with more of our energy on trades than free agency,” Byrnes said. “Now we have to bide our time and find the ones who fit.”
Solid work Byrnes. You focused a whole month on finding starting pitching and now you are just biding your time? Uh oh, this isn’t sounding good. Let’s see what Byrnes has to say next month in December.
“Even though we’d like to improve our starting pitching, we like our [internal] candidates,” Byrnes said.
Oh, holy hell. I think it’s safe to assume the Padres aren’t getting a starting pitcher now. Right? Byrnes sounds like he’s backtracking on his initial claims. Abort mission! Abort!
Then as we all know Byrnes admitted to “misreading the market” a short time later. The same market that he is paid a lot of money to know everything about. Embarrassing.
But Fowler all of a sudden broke his vow of silence. He started talking about team matters and leapt to the defense of his GM. Kind of.
“Josh was authorized to make the moves he wanted to make,” he said. “We have a budget, but we said if he found a difference-maker to go after it. But we weren’t going to do something just to do something.”
Wait, so Byrnes was given the green light on improving the team and instead he misread the market and just sat by biding his time? Sounds like Fowler is technically throwing Byrnes under the bus by actually trying to support him. But more importantly why are they technically promising starting pitching at the beginning of the off-season only to backtrack and all of a sudden feel confident in what they had after all the players signed elsewhere? Why is Fowler technically promising that the money is there yet the money wasn’t used? Which leads us to the Headley situation.
Despite the “under promise and over deliver” motto, the new group seems to be doing the exact opposite of that and “over promising and under delivering”. When Fowler claims that they are making an offer to Headley to the media, he is technically “promising” a signing*. The days of owners giving it the old college try is a tired act here in San Diego. Fans here will no longer blame the player for being to greedy. The old fool me once motto** comes into play as this isn’t the first time the owners have “offered” absurd amounts to keep a fan favorite. It’s time for the new owners to put up or shut up. Don’t make claims that you can’t back up, especially to the public. Please prove me wrong and make this happen, but don’t go crying to the media if it doesn’t. This is now on you Uncle Ron.
* Not to mention how it makes him look foolish when the player has no clue about this supposed offer as well, but that’s besides the point.
**I used a lot of mottos in this post