How Did We End Up Here?
And How Do They Fix This Mess?
Well, they did it. The Padres finally lived up to the expectations that were set before them before the 2021 season started. They competed with the dodgers for the best record in baseball right up until the end. They got into the postseason. Their pitching rotation was solid and the everyday lineup regularly showed up in a big way.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m totally lying about all of that. They did literally none of that.
What happened? It was not supposed to go this way. How do they fix it?
A Twitter group message with a couple of my former Padres Public cohorts inspired me to write something other than a Hangover.
Some of these were “inspired” by others, like Ben & Woods and Padres Hot Tub. Even Dave & Jeff managed to plant some ideas. I’m sure other blogs have written similar things as well, but I rarely read those anymore. Sorry.
Get rid of Eric Hosmer, by any means necessary
Eric Hosmer‘s signing showed the fans that Padres ownership was changing the narrative. No longer were they going to sit back and wait for the second- and third-tier free agents before getting active. They showed that they were putting their money where their mouths were.
There was just one problem with that: It was the wrong free agent player.
The biggest problem the signing of Hosmer caused at the time was they already had a first baseman, Wil Myers. Myers hit 30 home runs and stole 20 bases in 2017. While it wasn’t his best year, it was more than acceptable. Then they signed Hosmer and Myers started to bounce around the field again, when he wasn’t injured that is. He played third base, left field, right field, center field, first base and second base over the course of just 83 games in 2018.
They could have gone with Mike Moustakas. The third baseman — a gaping hole on defense at the time — re-signed with the Kansas City Royals for two years & $15 million. They could have still signed Machado the next year and either made Moustakas a platoon first baseman or traded him. Instead they signed Hosmer for 8 years and $144 million for 0.9, -0.5, 1.3, & 0.9 WAR in the first four years of the deal.
Hosmer has proven to be a liability on defense, a dissenting voice in the clubhouse, and just an all-around idiot of a human being. Cut bait and get rid of him. Trade him & eat some money or cut him & eat all of it. Don’t wait for him to decide to opt-out after 2022, get rid of him this offseason.
And if the other players don’t like it, tough. Man up and get over it. It happens. That’s baseball.
Take the general manager title away from A.J. Preller and hire someone else to fill that role
A.J. Preller just was signed to a six-year extension and given the dual title of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. The fact is the chances of him getting fired is about 1%. However, there is no need for him to have both titles at this point. Hire someone to be in charge of the day-to-day operations that a general manager would normally be responsible for. Preller would still be in charge of the organization on the field and throughout the minor leagues, but there would be someone between him and the (possibly) new manager & the team. Who would that be? I don’t know. That’s above my pay grade.
Now, if the next managerial hire ends up with similar results, that’s it for Preller. He will have to be shown the door. There’s no other way for this to go in that case.
Hire a manager with actual Major League managing experience
Or, at the absolute very we’re-desperate-here least, AAA managing experience. Jayce Tingler lost any chance of getting through to this team halfway through this year. Hiring him was a mistake. He was Andy Green 2: Electric Boogaloo. Hire someone this time who actually knows what they’re doing and won’t be literally learning on the job. And while you’re at it, let the new guy hire his own coaches if he wants to.
If Preller feels a sense of loyalty to Tingler, then reassign him to the El Paso Chihuahuas as their manager. Or as a minor league roving instructor. Or even as a Dominican Republic complex coach. Or something. Because he’s done at the Major League level for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of the next manager, Bruce Bochy is not coming back here with the team in it’s current state. Stop trying to make Boch happen. It’s not going to happen.
Dusty Baker is rumored to be leaving the Houston Astros. There’s an option. If he wants to keep managing, that is. Ron Washington was a front-runner last time. Look into getting him from the Atlanta Braves. Buck Showalter is out there somewhere doing something. And, since we’re talking about possibly hiring a former Texas Ranger…
STOP HIRING FORMER TEXAS RANGERS FOR THE FRONT OFFICE
I can’t stress this enough. Preller (or the new GM) needs to find another spot to pull people from. There are 28 other teams to look at. Try some of those teams.
I get these are people Preller knows from his time in the Rangers’ organization. I understand wanting to give his friends a shot. Maybe some of them deserved it. But it hasn’t worked out. Time to change the strategy.
The roster, when at full-health, is right there (except for the whole Hosmer thing). Get these guys at full-strength, with the right people to help lead and guide them, and I’ll put them up against any other team in the Major Leagues. But they’ve got to make some wholesale organizational changes to get there.
And let’s be honest here. I don’t know if any of the things I brought up will truly end up solving the issues. Maybe some of them will and others will actually make it worse. But this can’t go on as is right now. It just can’t. It’s guaranteed to implode on itself unless something changes.
And the fact is that most of, if any of, these things is unlikely to actually happen. Because the only person that can truly control any of this is Peter Seidler, and there’s no guarantee he wants to. But someone has to say it.
Let’s just hope Seidler is listening.