For several seasons now the San Diego Padres have put out a lineup many teams would be embarrassed by. Absent have been power, high batting averages, and a general ability to score runs. A breaking point for the franchise might be the 2014 season as they appear to be at an all-time low offensively. With an already strong pitching staff whose biggest weakness is a lack of run support, not all hope should be lost on the progress of the team.
A few fixes and suddenly the Padres can compete in 2014 by making changes like these:
Spend Money on Free Agents
The upcoming free agent class is not one of legendary status. Still, there are some major upgrades the team can make all around the field. Since the Padres already have a pretty good starting rotation comparable to their record, they should instead focus on improving the offense.
Petco Park, the name for the coliseum the Padres call home, is notoriously bad or hitters. Surely if Andrew Cashner pitched primarily in Colorado he wouldn’t be nearly as good. Because hitting in San Diego is harder than many other places, at least getting the ball out of the park, the Padres should focus less on power hitters and more on guys who can hit for average. Possible outfielders they may want to add are Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis, and Denard Span if he becomes available. This would secure them a leadoff hitter, something all three are fully capable of. The acquisition of a power hitter is certainly not impossible, but it remains unlikely in the immediate future.
Trade for an Unwanted Player
As unfortunate as it is, not all players are wanted on the teams they play for. Fans and management may have grown tired of their poor play or it may even be the player’s own frustrations with not getting enough playing time.
Perfect examples of two players in this situation are Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. These two outfielders have primarily been the odd men out in the outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers ever since Yasiel Puig arrived. Only due to a Carl Crawford injury are they now both in the lineup more, but the problem has yet to be solved. Undoubtedly other situations like this will occur and already are. A scenario can come up in the postseason where a star player struggles and the fans suddenly turn on him. This has already happened in the past with Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton. Both found new teams the following season. The likelihood of the Padres getting someone on that level is not good however they may still get an important piece who has worn out his welcome in the current city he calls home.
Move on From the Failures
Like a relationship with someone you thought you would spend your life with yet things didn’t quite work out, the Padres need to move on. The first step is to admit their mistakes and not wait it out until certain players finally play the way they had always hoped.
The team needs to realize that Chase Headley will probably never be what he was in 2012. Cameron Maybin is another example of a player scouts once saw as someone with high potential to never prove his worth. Coming into 2014 Maybin’s career batting average was below .250 in nearly 500 games played. With Maybin the decision is tricky because he is still only 27-years-old. However re-signing him may just set the team up for failure again. The locker room needs a new culture. To create this they should move away from the current roster and toward one that can actually win a few games.