It has taken me a couple days to acknowledge the Padres signing Jhoulys Chacin with more than a yawn. This isn't a slight toward Chacin; bounceback candidates who have been falling for three years while waiting for the bounce are people too, and the Padres need guys who can go out there for five innings and hopefully keep the team within slam range before everyone changes the channel. It's just that... okay, you know what, I guess it is a slight toward Chacin. He's been a below-average pitcher for a few years, and he'll blend right in on a below-average team.
Chacin apparently left a good bit of money on the table to sign with the Padres for a year at $1.75 million. On the surface, if one were to put absolutely no thought into it, that could be construed as the mythical "San Diego discount". It's a good bit less encouraging when you realize the thought process played out more like "Hey, here's just about the only team whose pitching sucks enough to let me go out there every five days and try to reestablish myself as an acceptable starter so I can get a multi-year deal worth some real money from another team this time next year." It's not a bad gambit, and I hope it works out for him.
The best case scenario for this situation is that Chacin pitches to his full capabilities and Preller is able to get a Pomeranz-lite haul for him around the trade deadline. This is the point where some readers will perk up, sit straight up in their chairs, and go straight to the comments section to tell me how stupid and wrong that I am because other general managers won't want to deal with the Padres due to the medical records scandal which earned Preller a month-long
vacation suspension. Phooey, says I (not really, but I do think I should start incorporating stuff like "phooey" and "says I" into the rotation of stupid things I say).
Since returning to work, Preller has already executed a few trades, which pokes a hole into that balloon full of hot air. Maybe opposing general managers are a tad more cautious when dealing with him, but even that seems a bit much. I could be way off base, but I have assumed all along that every team does some form of what the Padres were doing, albeit less brazenly blatantly and to a lesser extent. But aside from that, this is the point where Preller should throw deposed team president Mike Dee so far under the bus that nary a spot of sunshine can glisten off his bare scalp. When the team's keeping of two sets of medical records came to light, I immediately figured the plan had Dee's greasy fingerprints all over it. Even if somehow Dee had nothing to do with it because he was out of touch and shirking his duties, nobody else needs to hear that. I'd be sorely disappointed if Preller didn't approach every opposing general manager by pinning the plan entirely on Dee's slumped shoulders, preferably while shaking his head, referring to Dee as "that rat bastard" or something similar, and playing up the fact (or what he would have you to believe is a fact) that he, Preller himself, was the biggest victim in the whole affair. Go big.
I said that was the best case scenario, forgetting of course that it is technically possible that everything clicks for this very young ragtag Padres team and they win, win, win all the way 'til November. Of course this carries the same likelihood as Mary Swanson leaving her husband to get with Lloyd Christmas, and I'd be less surprised to see monkeys actually fly out of Wayne Campbell's butt.