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With little power or speed, cellar-dwelling Padres don't have a prayer

Discussion in 'All Other San Diego Sports' started by wrbanwal, May 20, 2008.

  1. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005

    It's not the players attitudes. YOU BROUGHT IN THIS MEDIOCRE TALENT!!



    SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres avoided complete catastrophe Monday night when Cy Young winner Jake Peavy learned there was no structural damage in his aching right elbow.

    But around here these days, the term "complete catastrophe" is relative, and while their ace is shelved on the 15-day disabled list at least through month's end, the Padres might want to think in terms of being very cautious in his return.

    Because there is no sense in rushing back their future and risking further injury when the only remaining intrigue in 2008 for the Padres is whether they're going to screw up another draft. (Still no word in the majors from Matt Bush, the first overall "pick" in the 2004 draft, who was chosen ahead of Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Billy Butler, Stephen Drew, Phil Hughes, Blake DeWitt ... you get the picture).

    A wicked combination of underachieving players and poor offseason personnel decisions following the best three-season stretch in club history has veteran players angry, coaches searching and the general manager downright livid.

    "There comes a point in time where we can't just say it's early," GM Kevin Towers said late Monday following another debacle, this one an 8-2 loss to St. Louis featuring left fielder Scott Hairston misplaying Ryan Ludwick's first-inning drive to the wall into a two-run homer. "I haven't seen any signs the last couple of weeks that leads me to believe, or our fans to believe, that we're trying to turn this thing around.

    "It's up to the guys in the clubhouse. I'm certainly not going to watch this for another four months."

    At 16-30 and 13 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West, the Padres own baseball's worst record and are looking at a deficit nearly twice as large as the next-biggest last-place gap in the majors (in the NL Central, Milwaukee trails the Cubs by 7½ games and, in the AL West, Seattle trails the Angels by 7½ games).

    Exactly how a two-time division winner (2005 and 2006) that fell a game short of playing in the postseason for a third consecutive season in 2007 could fall so far, so hard, so quickly ... well, let me count the ways.

    -- They have the ultra-rare combination of no power AND no speed.

    -- The lack of speed is a hallmark of Moneyball teams, of which club president Sandy Alderson is the godfather. I remember talking with Towers midway through the Padres' first season in Petco Park in 2004 and asking what he had learned so far about the way the new place played. His answer was that it's such a big outfield, you'd better have guys who can cover it.

    Flash forward four years later, with Alderson and special assistant Paul DePodesta on board and, suddenly, after fleeter fielders like Dave Roberts and Mike Cameron had been in San Diego, the Padres' lack of speed has killed them in the outfield more than on the basepaths.

    And it makes absolutely no sense because, indisputably, the best thing this team has going is a starting rotation with Peavy, Chris Young and Greg Maddux. And that has been sabotaged by slow-footed, clumsy outfielders. Paul McAnulty might be a fine fellow, but exactly how he has started 18 games in left field is utterly inexplicable.

    -- The Padres are batting .205 from the seventh inning on. They're 0-22 when trailing after seven innings and 0-24 when trailing after eight.

    -- Opponents have outscored the Padres 80-35 from the seventh inning on.

    -- Their left fielders (mostly McAnulty and Hairston) are hitting a combined .199 with four home runs and 10 RBI.

    -- Their bullpen is 2-12. Of the other 29 major-league bullpens, only one has lost more than 10 games (San Francisco, with 11).

    -- Against left-handed pitchers, the Padres are batting .212 for the season with a .281 on-base percentage and 94 strikeouts in 378 at-bats. Yes, they're striking out 25 percent of the time against lefties (with only 10 home runs).

    -- Entering San Diego's game Monday, its No. 5 hitters (eight different players) had combined to bat .196 with four home runs and 14 RBI.

    The list could stretch all the way through Sept. 28, when the Padres figure to be concluding their sorriest season in years against Pittsburgh.

    "Other than probably our starting pitching and the back end of our bullpen ... those are the positives," Towers said. "Other than that, they're all negatives.

    "We're not running the bases very well, we've played shabby defense, we're (0-22) when we trail after seven innings, we haven't showed any ability to come back.

    "I'd like to see our guys bouncing on the plate one time at the end of a ballgame. I haven't seen that at all.

    "I hear our morale is good. I can't believe it's good. I'm not down here (in the clubhouse) all the time, but if our morale is good then we have a major issue. If our morale is good, we have no expectation of getting better.

    "Our morale should be horrible. If we have winning-type players, our morale should be horrible right now. It's horrible in the coaches' office. It's horrible upstairs (in the executive offices). ...

    "We play for the city of San Diego. We play for the Padres. That should mean something. The hat we wear, the jersey we wear, the way we represent the organization, Mr. Moores (club owner John) ... the last three, four years we've made some strides."

    So far, the only significant move the club has made so far was in releasing center fielder Jim Edmonds, who looked old and lost attempting to patrol Petco's vast center field.

    "This certainly isn't pointing fingers at the players," Towers said. "It's all of us. It's the coaching staff, myself, we've put this product on the field. It's all of us.

    "I just hope we all have the same feeling when we wake up in the morning and look at the box scores. It hurts. I should hurt. Because if it doesn't, you shouldn't be here."

    Somehow, the Padres' statistical analysis folks projected that this club would win 90 games. Maybe they meant over a two-year period.

    You can win with power, and no speed.

    You can win with speed, and little power.

    But to field a team with neither?

    It boggles the mind.

    No, if it takes holding Peavy and his strained right elbow out an extra few weeks just to make sure he's right, that should be a no-brainer. He's set to begin a three-year, $52 million contract next year that will take him through 2012. It isn't worth risking his life and prized limb for this.

    "I see what you're saying," he told me late Monday evening. "You've got to be smart about it, which is what you have to do no matter what position the team is in. Obviously, we've got to get this thing going if we're going to compete. We understand that.

    "Being one of the team leaders, it would be nice to be out there and helping to try to get us going. I want to be out there. If I have one of my good nights tonight and maybe only give up two runs, it keeps us in the game."

    Instead, all he can do -- for now -- is wait. Preferably while covering his eyes, and for an extra several days just to make sure his elbow is healed.
  2. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    KT and Moores need to be shot for what they've done to the Pads (or NOT done to the Pads). And now the only thing they've got going for them, Peavy, is hurt. I sense a fire sale coming soon.

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