The Padres are a team in transition. They are under new ownership. They have a new general manager. They are headed in a new direction. Or are they?
The Padres are rebuilding, but not on the field.
Current team owners John and Becky Moores (now separated) are shedding the limelight, payroll and each other in an ugly divorce that is dissolving a lot more than just their marriage.
Jeff Morad and his group are taking over the reigns of baseball operations. Morad's group decided to part ways with long-time general manager Kevin Towers. Towers should be best known for his acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young in exchange for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.
Gonzalez has gone on to put up a .285 batting average, 130 home runs and 390 RBI in four seasons with the Padres. Chris Young is 31-25 with 374 strikeouts and a 3.70 ERA over that same span. Adam Eaton has since bounced around from Philadelphia to Baltimore and now Colorado. Otsuka was released by the Rangers in 2007.
Some people would consider that a robbery. Towers replacement is Jed Hoyer, former assistant general manager of the Boston Redsox. So far Hoyer has kept things status quo in San Diego.
Hoyer's first offseason as general manager of the Padres has been very Towersesque. Thus far he has signed 41-year-old pinch hitter Matt Stairs to a minor league contract, picked up two Hairston’s for the price of one Kouzmanoff, and signed Jon Garland to a one year contract.
Hoyer's fresh strategy reeks of familiarity. This frugal aroma smells a lot like the free agent signings of Mark Sweeney, David Wells, Greg Maddux and David Eckstein by Towers over the past several seasons. Heck, we hadn't had brothers play on the team since Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez last season. Prior to that, it had only been the Giles brothers, the Gwynn’s and the Alomar’s. And they say Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love.
If a Padres' fan slipped into a coma mid-summer and just awoke this morning, they would never know anything changed. The Padres are still making Olympic diving style splashes in free agency and trading away young talent prior to prominent paydays.
The names on doors might be changing but in San Diego there are three certainties: death, taxes and mediocre baseball.