I must admit, I’ve never been a social media guy. Seven months ago I had never used Twitter before.
Boy, did I learn a lesson.
I’ve been stunned listening to and reading the negativity among the “Padres Twitter” folk, whatever the hell that is. It’s almost as if they think Jeff Moorad is still the owner.
Here we have an ownership group that has committed significant resources towards building a competitive ball club. Even during the ‘glory days’ there was never a group that was financially committed to being the best. It’s NEVER been this way.
Nonetheless, folks still insist on throwing their toxic and often distasteful opinions out there. Things as stupid as ‘Ron Fowler must go’ somehow get shares. Are you kidding me? Do you want Jeffrey Loria?
In my opinion, the excitement surrounding the Padres today is more valid than 84’ and 98’ The difference? 83’ was the most mediocre team you could imagine. The only major acquisition was closer Goose Gossage and Tony Gwynn getting healthy. In 83’ they were 81-81. Their run differential was 0. It was as middle of the road as it gets. Expectations were “business as usual.”
Fast forward to the 97’-98’. The team was coming off a season where they gave up 891 runs. Even in today’s game, that basically sucks. Tim Worrell was the top reliever outside of Hoffy. He threw 60 games and had a 5.16 ERA. Nothing against Worrell an Co, but the bullpen was atrocious. 99 percent of Padre fans were NOT saying “this is the year”. Except me of course.
Whats my point? I’ve been called crazy, delusional, overly optimistic and all sorts of other things. The reality is that 2019’s team was a bullpen away from playing meaningful games going into September. Don’t believe me? Go look at every game between April-Tatis Injury where the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead. It’s stunning to see just how close this team was to legitimately contending.
Again, I’m ready for the wolves to pounce and destroy me. Have at it, I believe what I’m saying here.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re a hitter and a starter away from getting over the hump. The pitcher needs to be a Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg-type guy. We need a proven 15+ game winner with attitude. We need a guy that’s bankable every fifth day. He needs to throw seven innings and not be a pitch count casualty. We also need someone to hit in between Hosmer and Machado. He needs to make a difference in the clutch.
As far as the bullpen goes, I have zero concerns about the upcoming year. Time and time again bullpen arms have proven to be available at little to no cost. It’s all good.
The next step is ‘simply’ to acquire an elite starting pitcher in addition to middle of the order hitter. Both are high on the priority list and will most certainly be traded for or signed in free agency. Ownership and Preller are aligned there.
This team will contend next year, mark my words. The veteran leadership combined with the youthful talent will prove to be an 87+ game winner. They’ll add a few pieces that will push them close to or into a wild card position.
Ownership has demonstrated that they’re willing to spend money to win. They were a year early with Machado, but they’re right on time now.
At the very least, this fan is keepin’ the faith no matter what.