In a successful team there are individuals who stand out for their contributions outside what they ultimately create on a stat page.
A whole roster can surely not be made up of just superstars. There must be several role players on a team, those who understand their spot on a roster without craving more. The daily grind of a Major League season can be brutal and it takes several personalities to make the saga pleasurable and the overall mission a success.
A championship’ caliber unit has issues that naturally come up during the season. Whether it’s a clashing of personalities or philosophical differences within the game, there will be a time when a team is challenged as they face an uphill battle. Unforeseen issues like this are undoubtedly the moments that define a team. Tiny glimpses into the season can either make or break an entire year’s worth of work.
When push comes to shove, you want soldiers on your side that are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Soldiers is a loose term to refer to teammates that play a game (especially in this day and age), but a successful caliber team truly has that mentality about their squad.
Within this group of players, there has to be a few players who step up as leaders. Some players lead by example, while others prefer a silent type of mentorship. Then there are the vocal leaders. Those who will gladly get in a teammates face if they are wrong. They will also correct style of play that is detrimental to the overall success of the team. This is vital on a young team that is learning their identity and how to play the game correctly.
As we stand currently, the San Diego Padres lack leadership.
Clayton Richard and Brad Hand are clearly leaders on the team right now, as each pitcher has both the track record of success and respect of their teammates. They are the two that pitchers look to for advice when times are tough. But if you are a position player, it is difficult to confide in a pitcher, and at the same time it is difficult for a player like Hand or Richard to guide someone young like Manuel Margot.
Wil Myers would probably be regarded as a silent leader or someone who leads by example. He plays the game hard and is able to remain mostly stoic on the ball field. Being calm is nice, but sometimes you need a player to light a fire under a team. Myers could grow to be that player, but it is more likely that he will remain a calm presence in the locker room. There is nothing wrong with that, as it takes several personalities to keep the ship moving in the correct direction.
The Padres’ front office speaks of seeking a player with the gritty intangibles to lead a young team – someone who is not afraid to get dirty, while at the same time being front and center when the times are rough. Eric Hosmer most certainly fits that mold. He has a championship ring and is certainly capable of leading a young team. His cost and length of a potential contract is up for debate, but nobody can argue against the fact that he would bring leadership to this current Padre regime.
It is the first week of February and the free agent market remains ice-cold. The Eric Hosmer situation should resolve itself very soon. If the Padres fail to land Hosmer, then they will have to rely on veterans such as Chase Headley and Freddy Galvis to mentor the young players. Galvis has a reputation as being a very vocal, well-respected teammate. However, he is new to San Diego and only signed for one year. It remains to be seen if the young players will listen to the veteran infielder. Headley is a silent-type of leader, so he probably wouldn’t be a huge motivational factor in his last year before free agency either. Someone will need to step up.
Leadership is definitely wanted. The San Diego Padre are attempting to change the culture of the team. For decades, the team has not delivered any kind of consistency. It is not so much that they have failed, it is that the organization has just not tried to compete for more than one season at a time. Andy Green is on a mission. He has taken it personally and is striving to eliminate all the negative stigma that surrounds the Friars. If Eric Hosmer is not in the locker room in 2018 for the Padres, players will still have to answer to someone as the fiery young manager does not mess around when it comes to getting his point across.
There is no doubt that the Padres seek an identity. The team is on the verge of finding it and fans can feel it. For 2018, there is a Help Wanted sign in the Padres’ locker room and the job opening centers around the need for an everyday leader. Who will it be? Stay tuned.