The Padres had a good start to 2021. At 36-24, they were only one game off their 2020 playoff-bound mark in a truncated season. But things have gone much worse since.
It hasn’t been all downhill since the 60-game start. On August 10 they held a 4½-game lead in the second wild card spot, with an 80.2-percent chance to reach the postseason by FanGraphs. But in the last six weeks the Padres are 10-26, the worst record in the National League.
Today San Diego is six games out of a playoff spot, with a minuscule 0.7-percent chance of playing at all in the postseason.
Who gets the blame for the collapse? Changes need to be made, but who makes them?
Jayce Tingler lost the clubhouse. If you don’t believe me, here’s what San Diego Union-Tribune beat writer Kevin Acee wrote on Sunday: “Manager Jayce Tingler does not possess the sway to have quashed a situation that had been brewing for weeks.”
Tingler is an Andy Green type of coach, and this team needs a veteran to lead it. Bruce Bochy hasn’t closed the door to returning to San Diego, for instance. Maybe it is the time for owner Peter Seidler to step in and make a decision.
General manager A.J. Preller built this team that underperformed, so it would be natural for him to suffer the consequences. He was the one who brought in Tingler, Eric Hosmer, and traded away a great amount of the farm system.
But because they just extended Preller, it’s harder to get rid of him. But they should think about the main goal, which is winning the World Series.
The frustration is obvious here. After the Manny-Tatis scuffle everybody knows now, and with the season nearing closure, the possibility of ending this season below .500 is higher than ever, because of the way they are playing. Plus, Fernando Tatis Jr. is arguably not even the MVP frontrunner anymore.
Jake Arrieta and Vince Velasquez were desperate shots for a decimated pitching staff. The types of moves a last-place fantasy team would make, picking up everyone who falls on the waiver wire.
Barring a miracle comeback, this Padres season is over.
But what about next year?
Tingler has one more year on his contract, but he seems the most likely to be let go, so let’s focus on the players. Manny Machado, Tatis and Jake Cronenworth are staying but how about everyone else?
Eric Hosmer should be done here. Unfortunately, he needs to go. His defense is something to consider, because the former Gold Glove has a -1.3 DWar, and his -13.4 defensive runs below average are the worst in the team. Preller has to find a deal for him as soon as possible, a deal he tried and couldn’t get it done by the trade deadline.
Wil Myers had a couple of good seasons when he arrived, but with his expensive contract, he is not worth keeping any longer. Myers has one more season left on his six-year contract, making $20 million in 2022, with a club option for 2023. Preller should find a team that can absorb most of Myers’ contract, probably needing to throw a couple of prospects in such a deal.
Tommy Pham will become a free agent and it’s probably safe to say he is not coming back.
Austin Nola is still under team control for more four years, but with all the injuries he is not paying off himself, and we force our memories and remember the trade he was in, Preller gave up Ty France, Luis Torrens, Traylor Trammell and Andrés Munoz to get Austin Adams, Austin Nola and Dan Altavilla. What is Adams still doing in this team? Altavilla has been on injured list all season and Nola spent two months sidelined. When we look at the players traded away, it hurts a bit more, because France and Torrens are having good seasons with the Seattle Mariners, and Muñoz is a great prospect, soon to be one of the best relievers in the league.
Daniel Hudson is a $6 million reliever and will become free agent, he is not showing the player he used to be with the Washington Nationals, doubling his ERA in San Diego, so he’ll hardly stay. Drew Pomeranz is under contract for two more years and has an ERA of 1.75, but his health issues have become another problem, because you never know when you can count on him. Emilio Pagán has two more years of salary arbitration, but his 4.50 season ERA — and 15.88 over the last seven games — is reason enough to non-tender him this offseason.
Is AJ Preller the right man to lead the Padres to a World Series? Who do you think the Padres should bring back next season?