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The Direction of the Padres Front Office 

Carlos QuentinOkay, this may wind up being a bit of a rant. Hang with me. There will be a point.

I haven’t written a piece for Friarhood in a long time. In fact, I just recently got a text from Steve. It simply said: “Writer’s block?” I didn’t even respond to that.

So, the question I asked myself is why? Why haven’t I written anything in so long? Why didn’t I text Steve back? Sure, there was a family vacation, there was a writer’s workshop, there was work to be done with the back yard. The thing is, though, I’ve always had these time constraints going before, yet I’ve always found the time to write. Not so, now. Why?

In the midst of trying to answer this question, I found another: when was the last time I checked a Padres box score? Yikes. The answer to that one caught me off guard. It had been months. Now, mind you, I’m a guy who is pretty religious with my Padres. Checking scores, listening to the radio broadcasts, making time to see them on TV. Since I’m not a San Diegan, I have to use all the resources I can to track down my team. Yet, here I was, literally not giving a darn. Why?

I think it comes down to this. Who is this new ownership group, and what are they doing with this team? I have no answers, and I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one looking. But their lack of…anything, really, has left me feeling on the outside of my fandom for this team.

I had an excellent coach who once explained the game in very simple terms. There’s pitching, hitting, and defense. If you can perform well in two of those areas, you’re going to be a playoff team. So, let’s look at our boys. Defensively, the Padres are solid. They sport a .987 fielding percentage (I know, not the best metric) that is good for 8th in the league. Fine. What about offense? This team is a team struggling to get on base, and they lack any serious pop (MLB ranks in parenthesis): .691 OPS (23); 833 K (9). On the mound, things are even worse: 4.20 ERA (24); 1.37 WHIP (27). Definitely not a playoff team. But we knew that.

So, what is ownership doing about it? The answer is, nothing, it seems.

Let’s go back to the offseason and recap all the moves the team made to improve its roster: traded for Tyson Ross, signed Jason Marquis, Travis Buck, and Freddy Garcia. Byrnes went looking for starting pitching, but the market didn’t seem to have much to offer. Okay.

What about now, as the trade deadline approaches? Joel Sherman tweets this today: “Padres feeling better about future offense, not moving Quentin or Headley in this mkt, and more doubtful even rlvrs Gregerson/Thatcher move” Are you freaking kidding me?! Now, I’m not going to pretend that Sherman knows the inner moves the Padres are or are not going to make, but even this suggestion simply makes my blood boil. It sounds nearly identical to the dismal offseason that created our current cellar-dwelling team: poor market, and we’re comfortable with the team as it stands.

Are you, as a fan, comfortable with this team?

The trade deadline will tell us a good deal about this ownership group. In all actuality, though, the inactivity thus far has been revealing. I want to know what this team is doing and where this team is going so that I have something to root for. I’ve been in a perpetual limbo since the season started.

Part of that limbo was self-created, as I wanted to give this group some room to set itself up and begin to reveal its plan for this team. But what I see now concerns me. We keep sending members of the pitching staff off to season-ending surgeries. Sure, Cashner, Gregerson, and Thatcher have been fine, but our catching situation includes a prospect turned cheater. Our first baseman hits like a second baseman. The jury is still out on our second baseman. At third, we have a guy who is a shadow of his potential. Don’t get me started on the outfield. Really, the only player with a bat worth talking about has been Everth Cabrera.

On the minor league side, the organization continues to scuffle. Its overall rankings dropped from a season ago, and it will likely fall a bit further after several key prospects have struggled this year. Friarhood’s own Brad Beattie gave a nice rundown here. Granted, there are players moving up, but the fact is Mayo’s prospect list for San Diego went through some major shuffling. And it wasn’t the shuffling you want where players are graduating from the prospect list.

Okay. End rant.

Honestly, there really is nothing new in this piece of mine. And that’s exactly the point. There really is nothing new with this team since its last-place finish in 2011. Oh, wait. There is one thing. A new ownership group. Not that anyone could tell.

Memo to Fowler and Co.: give us something to care about. Please.

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About the author: Chris Kelly

Husband, father, teacher, and proud member of the Friar Faithful.