I took a few weeks off my weekly posting to take my beautiful wife to Italy and celebrate twenty-seven years of wedded bliss. It was the best thing I’ve done in a long time. I hope to travel more and soon. I didn’t watch any games but followed a few on Gameday because my internal clock was screwed up with the time difference and for some reason I was up at 4:00am everyday. I should have slept more. Or read a book.
The Padres collapse of the second half was epic. And complete. They reached 17 games over .500 by mid-August, and then had the worst record in MLB since. St Louis earned the second wild card spot while finishing 18 games over. That stings. I think the overall feeling for me for this season is pain. It really hurt to be so invested in a team that showed such promise last season, and then carried that promise into solid production to start this season. The Padres had the best record in MLB at the 60 game mark. Maybe they can only play 60 games. Maybe the grind of 162 is too much for this AJ Preller built team.
And what of AJ? Will he fire his little buddy Jayce? Will he fire the entire coaching staff too? He fired his farm director Sam Geaney. And replaced him with another buddy of his from the Rangers. I’m not sure why Peter Seidler is allowing Preller to build out the Rangers West front office. The Rangers never won a championship. And they are currently one of the worst run teams in all of MLB. But Preller poaches from there unabated. I read this morning that Dave Cameron quit. Probably because he was mostly ignored by the front office. He should have blogged about the Rangers instead of the Mariners.
Preller has his work cut out for him this winter. He’ll probably have to hire a manager. This time he probably should let the manager hire his own staff. Preller has to stop his micro-managing ways or he’ll be gone by next fall. It should be sooner. Really Seidler should cut bait now and fire Tingler and Preller and bring in a GM to hire the next manager. He won’t, as he inexplicably extend Preller to 2026. That is almost as bad as the Eric Hosmer contract. Almost.
So Preller needs to rebuild a player development department, I’m sorry, “build” the department, as the Padres prefer to say. Build actually works better here, because you can’t build what didn’t exist before. He also needs to build an analytic department, as Cameron’s departure has opened up a vacancy there. Then, he needs to improve the roster quite a bit. First order of business is to rid the team of the quitters. This team quit on Andy Green and then two seasons later, quit on Jayce Tingler. I’m guessing the ring leader is Eric Hosmer. Launching Hos into the sun would go a long way in showing the fans their 20% ticket price increase just might be worth it.
The Padres need to acquire a first baseman, need to get rid of a second baseman, find two corner outfielders, bolster the bullpen, and add to the starting pitching depth. Preller will probably add a couple of more middle infielders and call it a day. The man can’t build a competent roster, so there really shouldn’t be an expectation that he will this winter either. I’d love to see him prove me wrong, but he won’t. This is the Padres. All you get for your fandom is a great setting to watch games. A terrific fan experience. Now at much higher prices too!
It’s hard not to be all doom and gloom when you live through the months of August and September with this team. And then the Athletic publishes an article confirming all your fears about how poorly this front office is run. Preller is basically portrayed as an East Coast frat boy who hired all his buddies and made sure they were yes men to boot. The part that cracks me up the most is this persona of him as some “super scout.” He’s an East Coast frat boy. He’s not a scout. He was allowed to run rampant through his frat buddy’s farm with the Rangers, but I’m sure most in the scouting department just looked at him as Jon Daniel’s frat brother. He ran himself afoul of the rules. He did little of consequence with the Rangers. He has no rings.
Bring on the off-season though. The payroll is at luxury tax levels and has two immovable contracts with Wil Myers and Hos. I hope Ol’ Papa Pete is hungry because he is going to have to eat an awful lot to be rid of them. Seeing as how Preller likes to buy high for his free agent acquisitions, it will be really interesting to see how he attempts improvement. He’s assembled some talent, but that talent couldn’t get to 80 wins. But I’m ready to have hope again. Being disappointed is secondary in nature for us Padres fans.