Despite a recent losing streak, there is much to be excited about if you are a fan of the San Diego Padres. The clubhouse still has a swagger to it as this youthful bunch learns how to coexist and create a winning culture.
For 50 years the San Diego Padres have been an afterthought in the Major League Baseball community.
Yes, there were two National League Championship years, but both occasions were a surprise to the city, and each squad never approached that kind of success again.
For Padre fans, there has been a lot of sorrow. Firesales, bad trades, and poor management were what the team was known for in the past. Like a dog chasing their tail, there was no direction for the franchise and each season was brutal to watch for the fan base.
In late 2014, the Padres brought A.J. Preller into the general manager role. He was hired for his out of the box thinking and his propensity to evaluate talent correctly. The young G.M. moves to the beat of his own drum and has done whatever necessary to turn the organization around. In five years, he has flipped the minor league organization around into arguably the best system in baseball. They have talent at every minor league level and are positioned to be relevant for years to come.
The rigors of a major league season are severe, especially on a young team. The Padres recently went through a difficult patch. Nothing seemed to be going right for the team, as timely hitting was a thing of the past for the struggling Padres. The youth of the starting staff is exposing the bullpen, and that could be an issue. The way the pitching staff is constructed presently is not a recipe for long-term success. One worries slightly about the lack of timely hitting, but the bats should come around for this squad in time. The pitching is another issue that will be ongoing.
I spoke to Andy Green about the losing streak on Tuesday before the game. “You don’t really know who you are as a team until you get kicked in the mouth. Now it is time to respond,” Green said with a serious look on his face. In a 162 game schedule, you are going to go through rough patches. The team survived and is now looking to gain momentum. They are a better team for going through the losing streak.
Utility man and San Diego native Greg Garcia agrees that the team is much tougher now since going through the losing streak. “The world was not ending. We just needed to keep pushing and compete each day. We did that and are in a better place,” Garcia stated. He is a veteran presence and undoubtedly helped in calming the young unit. It is a long season, and you have to expect bad spells now and then. “When you back is against the wall, you get tested. We were challanged early and guys did not miss a beat. It was tough but we knew we had to start playing better.”
There is plenty to be content about if you are a fan of this team. The future is unbelievably bright. Fernando Tatis Jr. has been impressive. So has Chris Paddack. The youth on this team will provide plenty of joy in the future. There will be plenty of up’s and down’s with this young team this season. The growing pains will be there, but how they respond and learn from them will be the difference between this team being a good team and a great one.