Craig Kimbrel hasn't been the lights out closer that I was necessarily expecting. Any thoughts on what you've seen?
Craig Kimbrel's stuff is still fantastic. This isn't Heath Bell getting more hittable with age. The sample size for a closer is small so a couple bad outings spoil the bunch. Particularly 1/3 of an inning against the Astros where he entered when Padres were already down 2 runs. Certainly hasn't been as lights out as expected, but he's still one of the best bullpen weapons in the game.
FanGraphs has projected the Padres finishing 82-80 and playing .511 the rest of the way. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that, which shows just how far my expectations have dropped for this team. The playoff dream is all but dead right?
A record based on a projection is the mean of all the outcomes it thinks are possible. If 82-80 is the mean then there are a fair amount of outcomes where the Padres are right there in the mix for a wild card. They can definitely play better than they have and they certainly have an easier schedule now that they'll finally face some under .500 teams from other divisions.
Is there a particular offseason move that you now look back on and cringe?
For me it's always been the Kemp deal. Grandal for Kemp alone is an interesting challenge trade, but then you factor in Kemp's salary and the other players the Padres included. But for many it'll be the Kimbrel deal. Another case where the Padres took on money, got the most vaunted player, gave up a prospect and a major leaguer in return for a player that hasn't been as good as advertised. But in this case they got a player who only plays at most one inning per game and didn't seem to address a particular weakness.
I see folks on Twitter pretty consistently questioning Bud Black's lineups. Are there any changes you'd like to see going forward?
Lineups aren't that big of a deal. People will always argue about lineups. As long as Amarista isn't batting lead off I don't think anything Black does is particularly egregious.
Is Austin Hedges getting enough playing time?
Yes and no. He's certainly not getting enough playing time for his bat to develop. However, the catching position is pretty demanding and for him to get this experience working with major league coaching staffs, major league pitchers, major league hitters and major league base runners could go a long way towards simplifying things when there are more demands placed on his bat since all that other stuff won't be a new distraction.
Is it too early to guess if the Padres will be buyers or sellers at the deadline?
It is indeed too early. Padres are hovering near .500 and as they play some of the weaker teams could well be above that mark come July. You can't sell if that's the case. If I had a guess, I'd think Preller will think a little outside the box and show some aspects of both buying and selling.
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