When I first started writing about the Padres, I imagined I would be seeing some good young hitting, a tidy bullpen and finally some hit and miss starters. Overall, it would be a team that loses more games than it wins, but would it be a team that completes “the tank” successfully and gets the number one draft pick?
With over six weeks of the season left to run, our Padres are 22nd in the combined MLB standings. Not quite “in the race” for that last spot, especially as they have recently won a series against the team clinging onto that spot (the Phillies). They do however, possess the league’s worst run differential of -150. (the next worst is Giants at -114), so they are seriously outfoxing those Pythagorean types to stay away from last place.
They were touted to be the next team with 100 loses. With 39 games left, the Padres need 8 wins to avoid that tag. They ain’t losing 100 games.
So if the Padres are giving up a bunch of runs and not scoring very many, surely they should be sitting pretty at the bottom of the standings, rubbing their hands together at the thought of a number one draft pick?
But they aren’t, somehow they keep beating teams like the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and sweeping the Cubs.
So who is to blame for them failing to achieve a full on tank and getting hold of one of those top draft picks?
The one year contract types?
As we can see from this screengrab from the fine Spotrac.com, the one year guys aren’t exactly setting the world on fire (Chacin has been pretty solid at home, oddly enough). Those that have (Or those that have one year left in a multiyear deal) are gone, already disappeared in a trade. So yeah, the one year guys have been doing their job to either perform and move for prospects in return, or just downright awful.
Is it the young guys? The ones fighting for the Padres future (By playing well and not tanking).
In the last 30 days, this is the state of the Padres hitting (Min 40 PA). Jose Pirela, Cory Spangenberg and Manuel Margot leading the way. Pirela is under team control until his first arb year in 2019, Spangenberg is an unrestricted free agent in 2021, Margot of course has much longer to watch until his free agency, in 2023. Let’s look at the hitters season so far, do these results translate over the full year so far?
Let us increase the Min PA to 100, once again it’s Pirela leading the way. I’m not sure anyone predicted this. The hitters have been bad, really bad. Some of them are serious pro-tank (Hey Austin Hedges and Wil Myers).
Is it the manager, Andy Green?
Andy Green received rave reviews around the league for his temperament during the Rizzo debacle, he also received scathing reviews saying the Padres “would be bullied from this day forth.”. Well, that bullshit didn’t happen, did it? He is not about the tank, at all. He is grafting, grinding, battling for results and rightly so, as proven in the recent contract extension he received.
Anyway, the team are beating their pythagorean standings by nine wins. NINE. The team has 5.3 total WAR (Fangraphs) this season, so those extra wins have to be coming from somewhere, maybe it’s Andy Green? It is his first year as manager, so he’s not perfect. There are those that didn’t agree with Rizzo-gate (I loved it, it showed class), there are those that have been confused by his lineup choices, there are those that thought him removing Kirby Yates mid-at-bat and replacing him with Brad Hand was crazy (I agree). However, he’s guiding this below average roster to 4th place in the NL West and a respectable mid-20s final overall standing. There should be a serious amount of praise heading his way before this season is over.
This Padres team has been incredibly interesting, frustrating, disappointing and at times downright ugly to cover. One thing that has always been shining through all these moments is the future. If AJ Preller can hold onto the like of MacKenzie Gore, Fernando Tatis Jr, Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejon and many more young studs, instead of getting excited about the bright lights of someone like Craig Kimbrel, then maybe, just maybe that 2020 Padres postseason run could be a real thing.
Now all they need to do, is work out how to get Myers hitting well so they can trade him and avoid that terrible future contract.