What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four little hours.
AJ Preller and his staff made some significant changes to the 2020 Padres roster, and let’s just say it feels very good to be right. More on that in a second, but let’s address the moves first.
As a fan, and as you can tell if you spent any time on #PadresTwitter or listened to one of the 3,000 Padres podcasts out there, the team had three glaring holes: We had no catcher, we had one relief pitcher we trusted, and starting pitching was looking shakier as the season had worn on.
All of these issues were addressed and then some.
Let’s be honest here, this is not something we are used to. As fans, the holes we see are usually not the holes the front office fills. We leave the deadline shaking our heads in confusion and shaking our fists in anger.
Let’s also be even honester here, we haven’t been buyers in a long time. We haven’t really been able to see what Preller could do to bolster an already contending team.
Well, he showed us. And, he filled the holes. (You’re welcome HJ)
This new trend of Padres leadership and Padres fans agreeing on more than they don’t is…refreshing. It started with Manny, then with the Brown uniforms, and now instead of saying goodbye to beloved clubhouse guys in exchange for unnecessary prospects, we got to say goodbye to Clairemont house partiers in exchange for major league ready talent that (hopefully) can contribute.
Obviously, the only fear with overhauling a significant percentage of a roster is that the chemistry doesn’t change; this is something we’ll have to wait to find out.
But, other than that I can’t see one move that didn’t make sense, and that is mildly unbelievable. We needed a catcher, although I will always argue Mejia was mishandled from the very beginning and he could/might still be a big league catcher, and we got two! Jason Castro, a slight upgrade from Hedges who has a history working well with staffs and was wasting his time on a losing team. Plus, he’ll be gone next year, so clearly a stopgap option and a veteran voice in the clubhouse who might be able to work with young pitchers on a new philosophy.
Catcher #2, Austin Nola, is an interesting move. He’s not young, although catchers take longer to develop, but he is cheap for a few more years. He can also play multiple positions if he can keep up the offense that made him desirable in the first place. If they keep him behind the dish it’ll be interesting how he and Luis Campusano factor in to the picture next season.
We needed pitching and Preller went out and picked up Trevor Rosenthal – decent, Austin Adams – hurt, and Dan Altavilla – having a rough season. They also nabbed Taylor Williams – also having a rough season. Lots of projects there, but a change of scenery and energy never hurt anyone.
Then we come to Greg Allen, who I think a lot of people have always liked, and Mike Clevinger. The latter is the prize in all these moves, and adds some stability to a shaky rotation. His nickname is “Sunshine’ and he already looks like he should be hanging out at Belmont Park trying to sell weed. He’s a Padre.
As I mentioned on the last couple of Kept Faith podcasts I figured one of CJ Abrams, Trent Grisham, or Taylor Trammell would be gone as well as Josh Naylor. Abrams is probably the future at second base, and Grisham has played his way into a spot. Trammell always seemed to be destined for another team, and Josh Naylor was insurance if Will Myers and Eric Hosmer couldn’t put it together.
They both have so far, so he’s gone. Plus, Cronenworth could easily be a Wally Joyner/Mark Grace type at first if worse came to worse when Abrams is ready for the Bigs.
All-in-all, as fans, we should be happy. We should once again feel heard, and that is a huge step forward after the last few seasons. Sure, we had to say goodbye to some prospects we liked, but we got professional baseball players in return. We also got rid of Hedgey, which seemed impossible.
For the first time in a very long time the Padres not only look like the Padres, they have an identity on the field as well. Manny and Bebo have changed the narrative, and thank God we get to be a part of it.
For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc