What the Padres’ offseason says about 2013

If you’ve read anything written on the Internet this month, you’d know the Padres’ offseason this year was rather quiet. I’d like to look a little further into the team’s roster construction and decision making to try and figure out just what they have in mind.

Dat Win Curve

A team who expects a run at the playoffs is most likely to spend resources filling short term holes. Win curves show us that teams with expected win totals in the mid-eighties-ish stand to gain the most bang for their buck. If you’re someone I’m trying to impress, replace “bang for their buck” with “marginal value” in that previous sentence.

What the Padres haven’t done is reach deep in their supposed pockets and grab supposed dollars are available to purchase additional wins. We also know they haven’t reached into their farm system and traded higher future value in exchange for some value closer to the present. These oversimplified facts tells us the team probably doesn’t see themselves as an 85-90 win club who needs a piece or two to go over the top.

I don’t think it’s worth mentioning but will anyway, the team doesn’t expect to get to the 92+ win threshold where increasing marginal wins brings diminishing returns.

From that perspective, we can kind of conclude that the Padres themselves don’t expect to make the playoffs this year.

“But wait! There are other perspectives!” Indeed there are, dear reader, so let me attempt to address them here.

“Also, I want to buy Mel a beer!”

This whole writing what readers are thinking thing is kinda cool.

Because I’ve always wanted to use the word “addendum”, here’s one: win curve related decisions have become much more difficult thanks to the new second wild card, as more teams have a chance of making the playoffs and slightly worse teams can do.

Other Perspectives

The team’s offseason slogan has revolved around their success in the second half of last year, in which they enjoyed a .560 winning percentage in those 81 games. Unfortunately for them, you don’t just get to ignore half of the information in a data set if you don’t like it. Sure the team shed Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson for the second half, but those two only combined for 229 total plate appearances.

The team has a core group of position players in place, and  looks to be strengthened further with the addition of Jedd Gyorko. Unfortunately there are major questions on the mound, and most Padres fans have been wondering why almost no improvements were made in the single area so clearly in need of some lovin’.

Marc Normandin offered a well thought out perspective on the question of mound lovin’ last month.

This isn’t the sexiest group of arms, but the free agent market lacked — and still lacks — much in the way of upgrades, and with all of the young arms already on board for mid-season and into the future, giving up a draft pick for someone like Lohse makes little sense.

To rephrase, the Padres have a few back of the rotation starters to eat up innings to begin the season but  some high potential yet young and injured pitchers to look forward to. The keywords applicable to our discussion about 2013 here are “young” and “injured.” This is a group that has a long way to go.

Andrew Casnher, I kid you not, has thrown 316 total innings in his five year professional career. After hopefully fully recovering from major surgery, Cory Luebke could become a good though probably not elite pitcher. This is a risky group who, if lots of things go well could form a solid rotation a year from now.

And thus explains the teams’ quiet offseason. There are too many questions in the rotation and not enough upside from position players. These aren’t the types of questions that Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson can answer. I had hoped the new ownership group has room in the budget to throw fans a bone and aim for 83 wins rather than 79, but perhaps this was management’s intention when extending Huston Street and Carlos Quentin last season.

The past few years as a Padre fan have robbed most me of my benefit of the doubt, but with the few drops remaining lets hope ownership will do what it takes when the time comes. Until then, I’ll grab a Sculpin, and meet up as much as I can for games with the Padres Public community. Because I’m a lifelong Padres fan and having fun watching mediocre baseball is what we do best.

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  • Glad you could make it, Mel! Nice start.

  • Nice. I now have mediocre baseball back on TV. Cheers to perhaps exceeding expectations and perhaps eeking out some 1 run, extra innings games to put us in an extended wildcard spot!

  • SDPads1

    Cheers to medicore baseball as long as Sculpin is there!!

  • I think this reflects what Padres management was thinking–except we don’t really know what they were thinking, but I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt of using more rational, dispassionate analysis than the typical rabid, long-suffering manic-depressive fan.

    It also leads into 2014 being the start of the “go bigger” era–the timing will be right, there should be plenty of money to spend (even if they aren’t banking their current profits), and it should set us on a path for several successful seasons.

    Either that, or I’m going to make a bitchy *37* minute video next year.

  • Mediocre baseball and the best beer scene on the planet. There’s worse places.