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OOTP21 Padres: A form of meditation

When playing through every at-bat of a fake baseball season, patience is valuable. It’s also learned.

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

When we last left off, my virtual San Diego Padres squad was in a tailspin. Injuries had already done a number on the bullpen, the stars were off to a slow start, and the Rockies had easily swept the Padres in a game on the moon.

A lot has happened since then, so let’s get caught up!

Tatis vs. Grisham

Don’t ask me why, but Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trent Grisham really don’t like each other. Tatis called Grisham out in the media for being lazy, and Grisham told Tatis to shut his mouth. Seriously! This really happened (in the game)!

Anyway, I panicked because that’s what you do when you’re a fake GM/manager faced with real decisions! I decided that Tatis needed Grisham off this team and I started looking for a way to do that without hurting the active roster.

Trade Season Starts Early

I.....may have made some trades.

Goodbye, Trent Grisham. Hello, new centerfielder Ian Happ!

Texas offered me this deal and I saw no reason to not do it, so I accepted.

Tommy Pham’s anemic bat had me worried. The Red Sox, for whatever reason, were willing to part with a younger, cheaper player at the same position who might actually be better than Pham in exchange. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Not all the moves are sexy.

What’s happened since?

The Padres were 6-4 the last time I checked in. They are 16-10 now and have maintained their streakiness.

They started a five-game winning streak after my hectic trading (including a walk-off grand slam at Petco in Andrew Benintendi’s first game). They then lost four in a row (including another sweep at the hands of the Rockies) before winning three in a row, losing two in a row, and winning another two in a row.

The Padres now sit tied for first place in the NL West with the Colorado Rockies, with the Dodgers looming large in third.

Starting Trouble

Without a doubt, the biggest issues facing my team are starting pitching and centerfield (we’ll get to that in a moment).

Outside of Garrett Richards and Jacob Nix, the starting rotation has been fairly abysmal. Chris Paddack, Zach Davies, and Joey Lucchesi all currently hold ERAs over 6. I sent Dinelson Lamet down to El Paso with an ERA of nearly 7.

Oh, then this...

Eventually, the answer here will be Mackenzie Gore and Luis Patiño. However, they’re both just barely got to Triple A. To replace Richards, I’m attempting to sign the only decent free agent SP left, Michael Wacha.

A Gamble Gone Wrong?

It’s very early yet, and most of the trades I have pulled off have shown positive early returns, but one of them seems to have been a big mistake.

You’ll recall that I traded Abraham Almonte at the start of the season for an all-glove CF. You’ll also remember (from above) that I then traded my starting CF in Trent Grisham, relying on Ian Happ to take his spot seamlessly.

Happ has not exactly embraced the NL West. Here are his stats pre-trade and post-trade:

You’re looking at the batting average and on-base percentage, and you should be, but also look at the strikeouts and walks.

In the same number of plate appearances, Happ’s walks went from 8 to 1. His strikeouts went from 5 to 16. 16 strikeouts in 33 plate appearances is a pace that would undoubtedly shatter records if he kept it up.

So, now in CF I have two players that offer me nothing offensively. I’m not far off from calling up Michael Gettys (who is in the same boat at Gore and Patiño) and hoping for the best.

And you don’t want to know how much Grisham likes hitting at Wrigley Field (it’s a lot).

Keeping Up

What playing every single at-bat of this game has taught me (or attempted to teach me) is patience. Not to freak out over a three game losing streak and not to go crazy over a little winning streak. It a long season and lot of things just need to be played out.

In that way, playing OOTP21 has become something like meditation for me. It forces me to confront my emotional responses and not let them guide me into bad decisions. Perhaps I can learn from the Grisham trade that I never should’ve made. Perhaps real GMs have to do the same thing?

Anyway, you can follow me on Twitch to watch me when I get a chance to play over the next few days:

And here is a look at where everything is currently, for your perusing. I greatly enjoy your feedback, ideas, and mockery in the comments. Keep them coming!