“Tough Times-Ex Padres Pitchers”
Sometimes it’s injuries. Sometimes it’s just age. Sometimes it ia a mystery.
A bad day to hear and read about ex-Padres pitchers and what has befallen them in the last 72-hours in baseball.
James Shields, dealt a two weeks ago by the Padres to the White Sox, has seemingly lost his ability to pitch. His final outing in Seattle, prior to the trade, was hideous, and his 3-initial outings in the White Sox rotation have gone equally bad, if not worse.
People wanted to call him ‘Big Game James’, when he was signed by the Padres to a mega-money offer late last off season by GM-AJ Preller. Sure he won games in Tampa and Kansas City, and sure he threw 200-innings plus every year. And yes, there is no history of injury attached to his reputation.
Shields post-season stats were nothing special, an ERA in the 5.00-range. And even last year, when he came out of the box with a (7-0) start for San Diego, he gave up hits, let guys on base, and threw so many pitches, he became a 6-inning starter virtually every outing.
This year he pitched better, but with little run support, and now he is giving up runs by the truckload.
In his last four starts, the one in San Diego, and the 3-with the Chisox, Shields has worked a total of 11.1-innings…..has allowed (31-runs)….(32-hits)….(13-walks) and (7-home runs), in a terrible free-fall from so-called stardom. He has an ERA of (21.81) with the White Sox.
I’ve watched 3-of his last four starts, and he looks like a mechanical mess. Falling all over the mound, his follow thru all over the place. An inability to have the same delivery pitch after pitch. Scouts now say he doesn’t have the location he had, when he was good. The strikeout pitch, part of his repetoire is gone too.
What won’t be gone is his salary. The Padres owe him (27M) on his salary over the next 3-years, with Chicago on the hook for the rest.
Gone too is Mat Latos, the once promising star of the Padres. Traded to Cincinnati in the Yonder Alonso-Yasmani Grandal deal years ago, his career appears to be over. A former 14-game winner, bone spurs in his elbow, then knee surgery, has taken him out of baseball.
From the Reds, he was dispatched to the Marlins, a brief appearance with the Dodgers, a short term look-see by the Angels, and then a starters job this spring with the White Sox. His health changed his mechanics, and he looked as if he was built out of an erector set, with his pitching motion mechanics all messed up.
Latos had a (4-0) start with the White Sox, then proceeded to give up 29-runs in 36-innings and draw his release. The one-time phenom is now just (10-12) over the last 3-seasons and out of baseball.
Color Cory Luebke’s career with sadness. The Padres prospect, who won 10-games in a 2-year span, with a 94mph fastball, is gone, just released by the Pirates. This after a courageous battle to come back from 2-ligament transplant surgeries in his left elbow, and then a 3rd procedure. No one has ever seen as bad luck as Luebke has had. The lst ligament graft did not take hold, became infected, and had to be replaced. He has spent nearly 3-years in rehab.
And though Luebke made the Pirates opening day roster, with an impressive spring and a 94mph fastball, wildness, cost him a spot on the roster. Now he cannot throw strikes and cannot get people out.
Add to that the other Padres pitchers, who have yet to come back. Tyson Ross with the season long stay on the DL with shoulder problems after the opening day start. Brandon Morrow, failing to come back from 2-shoulder surgeries. And Josh Johnson, the once fiery leader of the Marlins and Blue Jays, likely done after 2-elbow surgeries and a forearm operation.
If you’re a pitcher, you know there will be an end of the road. Sometimes it’s age, where you lose your stuff; sometimes it’s injuries that take a toll. How hard it must be to have had success, to dominate, to make all that money, and have it go away, and not have any control of your pitching destiny any longer.
Tough times on the mound, tougher times to deal with it emotionally.