Here comes opening day and with it comes a series of unanswered questions.
Random questions worth asking:
..The TRADE for Sean Manaea brings another veteran fiery front line pitcher. A great insurance policy acquisition giving the Friars as many as 9-potential starters to use during the season, and you know there will be injuries. His acquisition makes up for the loss of Mike Clevinger, facing a longer road back on rehab from last year’s surgery on his elbow and the latest knee injury.
..The ROTATION…how good is it? If healthy, you open with Yu Darvish-Joe Musgrove-Blake Snell-Sean Manaea and Japanese import Nick Martinez gives you a good starting point.
..Who will be the CLOSER this year? Probably by committee starting with Craig Stammen and Tim Hill. Where Dinelson Lamet fits in remains a mystery until he proves he has durability to pitch an inning on back to back days. The unknown is Japanese free agent Robert Suarez, who has pitched well in the spring. Now he has to prove himself in real time this week. Who is Steve Wilson, can he be trusted? Emilio Pagan needs bounce back outings after a wretched finish last year. Pierce Johnson and Nebil Crismatt come off good seasons and hope to duplicate that. There is no Marc Melancon-why they would not give him a 2-year offer instead of letting him go to Arizona is a mystery.
..The KIDS appear ready. Ryan Weathers will open the season at El Paso, but should be back quickly as they stretch him out to be a starter again. MacKenzie Gore had 4-good outings and then a bad outing, so he must prove himself at AAA first. They believe they irond out all his mechanical issues over the last couple of years. Time will tell, so keep checking the PCL box scores. It may be mid summer before we see Adrian Morejon, coming off elbow surgery.
..LOST IN THE SHUFFLE is the best way to describe Chris Paddack, a big hit as a rookie who has tailed off two years in a row. He is being shopped in trade talks. Either he has hit a plateau or they have lost confidence in him.
..MISSING PERSONS REPORT…is a way to describe Fernando Tatis, now out 3-months if not longer with a fractured wrist. That is a big piece of the batting order. El Nino made Manny Machado much more dangerous and now Machado will have to carry a bigger load for the first half of the season. Ha Seong Kim has had the surprise spring, hitting (345) with power. Do scouting reports catch up to him when we start playing for real, or has he figured it out after last year’s struggles.
..Are they LIVING ON BORROWED TIME? Don’t know how they cope with the rumors and reality, that the front office wants to trade Eric Hosmer and Wil Meyers and their 40M worth of contracts. It creates an uneasy situation in that clubhouse. Of course that would go away if these guys hit north of .280 with power. Hasn’t happened despite the way they are being paid.
..Do they need 4-CATCHERS on the roster? No someone will likely exit soon, probably Luis Campusano, who has power, but is not polished as a receiver. Jorge Alfaro has had a good spring, and Austin Nola’s health and Vic Caratini’s lack of bat are things to consider.
..Is that a BLACK HOLE in left field? Jurickson Profar, Matt Beaty, and Luke Voit will rotate between the outfield and the new DH spot. Somebody needs to hit. Try this idea on for size. Once Justin Upton clears Angels waivers, might he come back here on a minimum contract, provide some proven power, and maybe hit better with a better batting order around him? Just a thought.
..The PAYROLL is at an all time high, some (233M) after that A’s-Manaea trade, and ownership has allowed GM-AJ Preller to spend freely. He has burned thru alot of currency with high priced mistakes and buyouts. One decent season (abbreviated) in seven years, and yet the Peter Seidler faith is unrelenting. in support of his GM. Somewhere there has to be accountability and they have to start winning.
..The next MANAGER comes with a track record, compared to the prior hires, Andy Green and Jayce Tingler, and Bob Melvin is a two time Manager of the Year, something we have not seen on other people’s resumes in the Manager’s Office. His leadership is full of proven experience, not some wishful hoping of philosophy.
..Can’t forget HISTORY here. That (12-36) finish was a blow to the psyche of everone, and no amount of cheerleading from the media or the prootion ads can wipe away that ugly memory. Yes they have a good 60-game pandemic shortened season, but that doesn’t mean much. Have to prove themselves all over again.
..Opening day is upon us. Sure seems like there are more questions than ever down at Petco Park.