1-Man’s Opinion Column-Wednesday “Padres-Benefit of the Doubt?”

Posted by on June 1st, 2016  •  0 Comments  • 

“Benefit of the Doubt?”

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Where do you begin to discuss how bad a disaster San Diego Padres baseball is now?

With the June free agent draft just a week away, you could certainly point to recent Padres history, and say it’s always been a problem with this franchise, regardless of whom the owner was. Dreadful drafting up till recently.

The injury situation. You could always point to that, the Padres had 12-shoulder and elbow surgeries in a 17-month period at one stretch, and again this year, have had two frontline starting pitchers dry-docked with injuries. But it’s much more than that.

You can always say a bad free agent signing, a bad gamble on a waiver claim, or underachieving players with high-high contracts. And some of that is a piece of this equation.

The Padres come home buried in last place, in a rather poor division. They are the poorest of the poor for sure. They play tonight with a (20-33) record. They have just completed a miserable (1-7) road trip. San Diego has lost 8-of-9, and 12-of-15. They capped it off with a (16-4) bashing by the Seattle Mariners, a game in which their catcher and shortstop had to pitch at the end of the game.

After yesterday’s trashing at Safeco Field, the Padres have lost 6-games in which their staffs have given up 12-runs or more. The Mariners bomb job, superceeded the 15-0 loss to the Dodgers on opening day. San Diego has lost games 11-1…11-2…10-0…13-9…and 15-0 in addition to the Tuesday (16-4) thumping. That’s not a bad day at the office. That’s a bad roster.

They can’t hit with regularity, and right now they surely are not getting consistent pitching from a battered rotation, or shaky setup bullpen.

The ledger shows they’ve been shutout 11-times. In 6-games they’ve scored 1-run. In 6-other games, they plated just 2-runs. That’s 23-out-of-50 games they’ve scored 2-runs or less, and they don’t have a staff made up of Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Jake Arrieta or Madison Bumgarner.

Slugger Matt Kemp has come thru a month of May where he was hitting (.149). Melvin Upton has tailed off, with his recent weeks of plate appearance resulting in a (.142) average. Wil Myers wrist issues have seen his numbers plunge too.

The rest of the roster is made up of utilitymen, or guys on and off the disabled list.

Yes the Padres draft will yield them 6-of the top 85-picks. And yes, they have a cash register full of money to spend on international signings.

But reality is this: any prospect you draft next week,or sign next month, is probably a 3-to-5 year investment before you can get a return. The Padres seem unwilling to sign ready-made international players. We haven’t seen any Yasiel Puig-type Cubans, or Kenta Maeda-type Japanese stars coming to San Diego.

Look around the box scores in baseball games this week, and see how many young players are other places, some having great success. From Anthony Rizzo to Joe Ross, from Mallex Smith to Matt Wisler, guys dealt away are doing well.

This is GM-AJ Preller’s franchise. He has now been on the job nearly 2-full years. Remember, he was hired mid-summer in 2014 after they rid themselves of GM-Josh Byrnes. So Preller had half a season to evaluate his roster and organization. He made all those trades in 2015, dealing 21-young players away, including 11-arms, to go get veterans. Last season was a disappointment. The big club went sub-500. The farm system was barren.

Now his second year seems to be turning into a disaster. He dispatched veterans last winter to replenish the farm system, and those players seem a way’s away. And what’s on this roster cannot compete.

The injuries have set them back, no doubt, losing Tyson Ross then Robbie Erlin. Having 5-infielders go down with leg injuries. The setback to catcher Austin Hedges. But this was a flawed roster to begin with.

Preller’s off season acquisitions included Jabari Blash and Luis Perdomo. 1-gone, and the other still on the roster, struggling.

They dragged everyone they could off the street in the off season, hoping to find a gem. A bunch of them are out of baseball, others having their mail sent to El Paso.

Did anyone really believe Skip Schumaker, Phil Humber, Casey Janssen, Carlos Pimental, Jose Dominguez, Michael Kirkman, Buddy Baumann, Cory Mazzoni, Blake Smith, Josh Martin would impact this franchise.

The Dodgers brought Kenta Maeda on board from Japan. Corey Seager and Joc Pederson are part of their great future.

The Diamondbacks wrote a big check for Zack Greinke and dealt for Shelby Miller, and still believe they are in it.

Giants baseball involved the signing of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija and the continued growth of lots of home grown talent from their system.

San Diego isn’t the Red Sox, where international signings and prospects are emerging. It’s not the Cardinals where age and the death of a young star has been off set by the arrival of more pitching and good young prospects who make it. Even the suffering for 22-years in Pittsburgh has been replaced by talent from the farms. And forever woeful Kansas City has put together three good years in a row.

Success lots of places. You see any of that being part of the Padres?

San Diego is stuck with an overpaid James Shields, an eroding ;Matt Kemp, a bunch of kids at El Paso and San Antonio, who are not ready for delivery, and a recluse General Manager AJ Preller, who has made mistakes, keeps changing his philosophy, and has yet to deliver what we thought he might, based on his resume with the Texas Rangers..

You are what your scoreboard says you are. A last place team. A roster full of holes. An injury list a mile long. A farm system years away.

You’d like to give Preller and his staff the “benefit of the doubt”. But this has the makings of an all-time low of a season.

Based on what we have seen a third of the way into this season, coming on the heels of last season, and with two changes of philosophy, maybe we need to rethink all this.

From “benefit of the doubt”….the real word to use now to describe the Padres program and it’s leader is “doubt”.

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