Ever since GM A.J. Preller was hired we've been hearing about the Padres competing each and every year while simultaneously building their farm system. Preller and his Padres beefed it in their first year under this new plan, but Padres leadership seems to think that that could change at any time even though they seemed poised for more disappointment.
In so many words, the Union Tribune's Dennis Lin asked them why they won't admit that they're rebuilding and concede the season.
“Significant improvement,” said executive chairman Ron Fowler. “We underperformed last year. Our goal is to overperform this year.”
It didn't take long last season to realize that the Padres weren't just underperforming, they just weren't good. In fact it sure seemed like Bud Black was the only thing keeping the team together because once he was fired they completely unraveled. Fowler's goal is good though, but that's a tall order for162 games. He says later in the article that at his advance age he doesn't have the patience for rebuilding, which is fine by me and my advanced age.
Padres President Mike Dee sounds very zen when talking about the process and the journey ahead.
“For us, 2015 was just a step in the process,” said president and CEO Mike Dee. “It was part of a journey, part of the plan. 2016 brings a next step with a new manager and a team we think is going to compete.”
He thinks the team is going to compete, but I question his judgement since he had that same thought deep into August last year when all was lost and hope had abandoned us all. I'm not sold on media darling manager Andy Green either, I fear him since he seemingly brain washed everyone who has listened to his Siren song. I've purposely avoided listening to any of his interviews so as to not fall in love with him.
A.J. Preller is also depending on Green to make the team play better. He spells out the plan quite simply.
“We’re looking to field a team that’s competitive in the short- and long-term,”
“When we hired A.J., those two objectives didn’t need to be an either/or proposition. We wanted to compete and also build a strong farm system. It’s parallel tracks.”
Later Preller says that he doesn't believe that teams should necessarily avoid being caught in the middle between rebuilding and competing which Craig Elsten calls the "murky middle". Preller makes a decent point that if you are a middle of the pack team and a trade opportunity is available that could give you a boost, a team that is rebuilding can't immediately take advantage.
Part owner Peter Seidler is starting the season with high hopes. The Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks all seem to be better teams on paper, but he's got his eye on the playoffs while admitting that they'll like be picked 4th in the division. I could see the Diamondbacks being a paper tiger but I just can't envision a scenario right now where the Padres can win this division.
“We’re going to try to be in the playoffs this year, and that’s going to be from day one.”
Lin adds brings the reader back to Earth with this synopsis of the opposing view. "Across the industry, such statements have been met with skepticism."
I appreciate their passion.