Why is this happening? Is this gonna be forever?

After being snubbed by both Pablo Sandoval (BOS) and Yasmany Tomas (ARI) the Padres offseason looked to be just more of the same — overpromising and under-delivering — by the time the Winter Meetings started.

It was even reported that the new GM A.J. Preller’s laptop was broken right before the meetings started.  Out came the “Padres are too cheap to even replace a computer” jokes.

Padres’ fans started to show their frustration.  We all knew what this team needed to do, but it seemed that Preller was just like the old GM.  Refusing to drink the iced coffee instead of trying to upgrade the roster with quality players.

It was beginning to look like an almost exact repeat of the previous two offseasons, with only Brandon Morrow and Clint Barmes added as free agents for “roster depth.”

Clint Barmes

Padres sign IF Clint Barmes to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with a club option ($2 million or $200k buyout) for 2016

C’mon.  After Everth Cabrera was DFA, you didn’t really think the Padres were going to put all their faith in Alexi Amarista at shortstop, did you?  Although. Barmes is basically Amarista without the outfield experience.  He was basically signed for infield backup and as a veteran presence.

Why Clint Barmes?

Brandon Morrow

Padres sign RHP Brandon Morrow to a one-year, $2.5 million deal (with incentives)

Tim Stauffer Part Deaux, is what it boils down to.  Doesn’t cost much and if he doesn’t crack the rotation he’ll be the long reliever, most likely.

Brandon Morrow looking to make comeback with Padres

Then, the last day of the Winter Meetings happened.  And that all changed.  Big time.

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There has been a (nearly) total lack of any interesting Padres news coming out of the Winter Meetings this year. Unless you count Dick Enberg receiving the Ford C. Frick Award or A.J. Preller’s broken computer. Which I don’t, obviously.  Quite frankly, everyone else on Padres Public has done a much better job of analyzing nothing this week than I ever could.

So let’s have a bit of mindless fun, shall we?

This past year saw Alesmith Brewing releasing a collaboration with the late Tony Gwynn on a new beer, .394 San Diego Pale Ale.  If you haven’t had a chance to try it yet, I recommend you get to Alesmith’s Miramar tasting room and do so at your earliest convenience.  It is a mighty tasty beer.

This brought up an interesting topic to examine:

What could local breweries do to honor other Padres players with their own beer?

Well, maybe not interesting, per se.  But what else are we supposed to talk about?

*My only rule:  You won’t see anything about Eric Show or Alan Wiggins or anyone else that ever publicly had a problem with substance abuse.  That’s a line that I won’t cross.

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Crowdsourcing is the latest fad in seemingly every endeavor.  From Kickstarter to Storify, it seems gathering money or ideas from others and using it for your own benefit has become commonplace.

I’m not immune.  Occasionally I use it to figure out topics to write about that you people would like to read.  This is one of those occasions.  That I chose something to write about, not necessarily that you would like to read.

In Episode 13 of the Padres And Pints podcast, Rick revealed he was drinking not the standard beer, but rather Cran-Grape juice.  This caused a certain degree of ridicule from me some.  So, of course, when I decided to take suggestions for topics, Rick decided to get back at me us a little bit.

Here’s the thing:  I have little to no shame.  And I’m a little desperate to write about something Padres-related.  Challenge accepted.

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I call it a “Partially Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverage”

It’s been a while since I wrote anything that wasn’t a While You Were Drinking or a news item.  And let’s be honest.  There’s only so many ways someone can say “this team sucks” and not come off as a total prick.  But make no mistake, this Padres team definitely sucked this year.

Yeah, sure, they finished with more wins than any of the previous three seasons.  By one.  One win.  I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass and tell you how the Padres have exceeded expectations after their horrific offensive start.  Sorry if you think I will.

Despite what some people may think they know about my opinions of other Padres’ fans, I believe the majority of fans are smarter than given credit for.  And that you all deserve straight talk, not bulls**t.

I’ve been writing bits and pieces of this over the course of the last couple weeks.  It’s very stream of consciousness, so it’s all over the place.  I don’t even know if it’s readable for anyone who’s not me.  But, there you go.  You’ve been warned.

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In a recent chat at the Union-Tribune, Dennis Lin, in response to a question about Everth Cabrera‘s outlook for next season and his potential replacements, typed these 35 words into his browser:

I believe there’s a decent chance Alexi Amarista starts at shortstop next April. He’s obviously not a long-term solution, but he’d be serviceable. The Padres were really impressed by his play in the second half.

What may be most disconcerting about Lin’s response is that it’s an entirely reasonable one.

Everth Cabrera, the incumbent Padres shortstop, has a trio of potential roadblocks surrounding his return as a full-time starter: (1) the pending legal issues from the arrest on September 3 on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, (2) the hamstring injury which cost the shortstop nearly 70 games last year and also sent him to the disabled list in 2013 and 2010, and (3) the inconsistent performance.

As we discussed last week, Cabrera’s campaigns have yo-yoed between productive and complete wastes since his 2009 out-of-nowhere debut. In 2013, Cabrera made major offensive strides and finished with a .283/.355/.381 line in 435 plate appearances. His 2013 walk rate was nearly identical to his 2012 walk rate, but he struck out just 69 times (in 14 less plate appearances) compared to 110 whiffs in 2012. Last year all of those positive gains were lost — the slash line fell back to .232/.272/.300 in 391 PAs and both the walks (20) and the strikeouts (86) traveled in the wrong direction. The defense, depending on your metric of choice, has hovered in the area just below average, but the base stealing has fallen off drastically (44-48 on steals in 2012 compared to 18-26 last year).

Despite all of the issues, Cabrera remains a legitimate candidate for the job next season, which might tell you a little something about the alternatives. He’s shown in the past that he’s been able to bounce back following a dismal campaign, and the talent — the ability to put up 2-plus WAR in partial seasons — is obviously there. Further, Cabrera should remain relatively cheap after making just $2.45 million last year, and he’s (super-two) arbitration-eligible through 2016. Heck, I was campaigning for an extension just prior to the start of last year.

Let’s just consider, though, that the Padres aren’t comfortable entrusting the starting shortstop job to a player battling legal issues, health issues, and production issues. Who would they turn to?

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There are two things you can do when you write a silly bold predictions piece, like the one I did just prior to the 2014 season: (1) try to forget about it and hope others do the same or (2) revisit it after the season and examine just how crazy you are. I’ve chosen option No. 2.

The Padres will win 77 games and finish tied for third-place in the NL West (with the Diamondbacks)

Oh, hey, that’s a surprisingly nice start. This prediction wasn’t so much bold in the traditional sense; any reasonable win total projection for the Padres in the offseason likely fell somewhere between 75 and 85 wins. (And, heck, they had won 76 games two years running). It was only bold in the specificity, and if you ignore the little part about tying the D’backs for third-place in the division, we nailed it right on the number.

Things I missed:

  • The collapses of Jedd Gyorko (more on him later), Everth Cabrera (him too), and Cameron Maybin at the plate. In fairness, this was pretty tough to catch, but perhaps the inconsistency of Cabrera, the fragility of Maybin, and the likely regression of Gyorko should have been clues that there were major flaws with this “intriguing collection of up-the-middle talent.” There’s still plenty of intrigue here, but Cabrera and Maybin are pushing the limits with which they can be relied upon to contribute positively to next year’s team.
  • Tyson Ross‘ breakout. I pegged Andrew Cashner as the Padres pitcher with the greatest chance of turning into a staff ace (and that still might be true … if he can ever stay healthy), but it was Ross who emerged in 2014 as something more than mid-rotation filler. Ross does almost everything well as a pitcher, racking up strikeouts, keeping the walks in check, and getting a healthy dose of ground balls (which, subsequently, limits his home runs allowed). Big things might be on the horizon for the young(ish) right hander if the late-season shutdown wasn’t anything more than a precautionary measure.
  • Seth Smith‘s breakout. Smith had only cracked an .800 OPS twice in five seasons in Colorado, and he did it in 2014, despite moving from the league’s hitter-friendliest park to its most pitcher-friendly dwelling. His 133 wRC+ ranked 26th in all of baseball and he also destroyed his previous career best in walk-to-strikeout ratio and pitched in with adequate defensive numbers in the outfield. Smith’s second-half .243/.340/.346 line might suggest a more pedestrian 2015 season is oncoming — and I wasn’t a big fan of his mid-season extension, anyway —  but two years and $13 million could still prove a bargain.

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Here it is! All of the Padres bobbleheads that I own, in one single post! 57  168 (!!!!) different Padres, Chihuahuas, Beavers, Stars, BayBears, Quakes, Storm, Wizards, TinCaps, Emeralds, managers, announcers, mascots, dreamboats, skaters and sleepy voiced ex-owners. I’ve written in depth about many of these already, so if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll fill you in on them.

Some Additional Notes:

-The Tony Gwynn set of 5 was not a Padres affiliated giveaway and was reportedly a set that Alicia Gwynn teamed up with another company on. I can’t recall the year, or if they were given away somewhere or sold, but I’m about 99.9% sure that it was in 2001.

-I found out that the set that features Trevor Hoffman, Ryan Klesko, Mark Kotsay and Phil Nevin was indeed given away at a game on August 4th, 2002, but was for kids only. You could also go to Carl’s Jr. every Saturday for 5 consecutive weeks and purchase a combo meal to buy a different bobblehead for $4.99 though, which is what I did. My cholesterol levels have never been the same.

-The Jerry Coleman bobblehead was a San Diego National Bank item from 2001 and was given away to “special friends of the bank” only.

-A HUGE thank you to the Fort Wayne TinCaps for providing the Rymer Liriano, Mat Latos, Matt Wisler, Josh Van Meter & Burt Hooton bobbleheads to the collection!!

-Another HUGE thank you to the El Paso Chihuahuas for providing the Manuel Margot & Austin Hedges bobbleheads!

-For more info on the Chris Denorfia unreleased bobblehead, go here.

-I’ve never seen the 1980’s Twin Enterprises bobblehead before, but I scooped it up. It’s in the 1985-1990 uniform, however I have never seen any of these holding a baseball. Perhaps it was a custom one?

If you have any bobbleheads that aren’t listed here, that you’d like to contribute to my sickness the cause, then shoot me an e-mail.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy when you spend an evening in the pub.  So here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (53-62) defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates (62-54) 2-1 at PNC Park last night in a game that had all kinds of goofy plays on the Padres’ side of the diamond.  From players sliding into bases awkwardly to screwy throws from the outfield to a batter getting beaned in the head.  Despite all of that, the Friars managed to get out of a couple of jams and still win.

Eric Stults (5-13, 4.76) pitched tremendously, going six and a third innings while giving up just one run on seven hits and no walks with six strikeouts.  Jedd Gyorko and Yasmani Grandal each had an RBI.  Joaquin Benoit earned his fifth save with a perfect ninth inning.

Pirates’ starter Francisco Liriano (3-8, 3.82) took the loss despite pitching seven innings with just three hits, a walk, and four strikeouts.

Today it’s Tyson Ross (10-10, 2.62) taking the mound against the Pirates and Charlie Morton (5-10, 3.43) at 10:35 am PDT from PNC Park for baseball brunch.  Because it’s too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, but you’ll still get a good meal.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy when you spend an evening at the Diamond in Lake Elsinore watching Andrew Cashner throw two innings in a rehab start, spending most of the Padres game in the car beforehand thanks to traffic.  So here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were cursing at other drivers drinking.

The Padres (52-62) dropped the first game of their three games with the Pittsburgh Pirates (62-53) at PNC Park last night by a score of 2-1.  Ian Kennedy (8-10, 3.51) took the loss despite a solid start (6 IP, 7 hits, 3 walks, 2 runs, 5 Ks), thanks to the Padres’ sputtering offense.

The lone Padres run came after a sacrifice fly from Seth Smith in the first inning to bring Everth Cabrera home after a double.  The Padres managed to load the bases with no outs against Pirates’ starter Vance Worley (5-1, 2.30) in the sixth inning.  But then Jedd Gyorko ground into a 5-3-2 5-2-3 double play and Yonder Alonso hit a fly ball to left field to end the inning.

This evening Eric Stults (4-13, 4.94) takes the mound against the Pirates’ Francisco Liriano (3-7, 3.91) at 4:05 pm PDT from PNC Park.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy when you spend a morning at the pub and ask yourself what went wrong with your life that put you in a bar at 10 A.M.  So here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (52-61) defeated the Minnesota Twins (51-61) by a score of 5-4, earning a split in the Mike Pomeranz Derby (okay, I’ll stop it). The Padres were led on offense by Yonder Alonso (3-4) and Tommy Medica (2-5, 1 RBI), but the biggest day was had by Seth Smith (2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI). His home run in the 10th inning was the difference in the ballgame. Trevor Plouffe had a big day for Minnesota, going 2-4 with a home run and driving in 3 of Minnesota’s 4 runs.

Odrisamer Despaigne had another shaky outing, looking great at times and completely hittable at others. He gave up 4 runs through 5.2 IP. Everth Cabrera drove in the tying run via sac fly in the top of the 9th, plating Alonso. Alexi Amarista made one of the best Padres defensive plays of the year, regardless of how suspicious the route was. Video will be found below.

Today, the Padres are off. They move on to Pittsburgh to begin a three-game series at PNC Park tomorrow night at 4:05 P.M. Ian Kennedy starts for San Diego, facing Vance Worley.

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