San Diego Padres: Weaknesses, Inconsitencies Plague 2009 Squad

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IJune 4, 2009

DENVER - MAY 31:  Manager Bud Black #20 of the San Diego Padres prepares to hand the ball over to relief pitcher Greg Burke in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies during MLB action at Coors Field on May 31, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Padres defeated the Rockies 5-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Not every team is perfect. Not every team is completely flawed. Most of the teams in Major League Baseball have a little bit of both in 2009. The San Diego Padres, however, seem to have more flaws than perfections this season.

As the season began, it looked the Padres were going to be one of the more surprising teams in baseball, especially after getting off to a 9-3 start through their first 12 games.

Then, for whatever reason, the Padres forgot what made them so successful and they ended up dropping 18 of their next 22 games, seemingly losing sight of the front running Los Angeles Dodgers and and nixing any chance of a comeback.

After a skid that dropped the home attendance—during one home game it was under 14,000 fans, the lowest in team history—there needed to be changes in the roster, a shakeup was needed and general manager Kevin Towers jumped into action.

Unfortunately, the action was too little too late. Yes, the team rattled off 10 straight wins and 11 of their next 12 games but since then, the team has gone back into hiding, dropping seven of the their last ten games including being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies and losing two of three to the Colorado Rockies.

What needs to be done, at this moment, is for the front office to turn their attention to the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft coming up this Tuesday, June 9.

They need to address the needs of this team going forward and draft the appropriate players that will help make this franchise successful again. Whether that's offensively, defensively, starting or relief pitching, whatever the need is, that's where the decisions need to be made.

There's nothing that they can do to help the team that's on the field now, short of calling up the likes of Kyle Blanks and bringing back Drew Macias to give protection to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

That's the biggest reason this team isn't winning consistently, opposing pitchers are walking Gonzalez two and three times per game because they know the guys in front and behind him aren't going to do any damage.

I know you fans are going to get on me for this opinion, but you may as well deal with it now. Bringing up Kyle Blanks this season is not going to do this team or Blanks any good.

Give him a full season with Triple-A Portland, give him time to get used to playing the outfield and then let him earn his spot during spring training in 2010. If you do it that way, he's more hungry to prove that he can perform at the big league level and is ready to be an every day contributor.

If you're wanting me to make changes to this team right now, I think making any changes to this team right now is a lost cause, but if you're putting me in Kevin Towers' seat and asking me to change this team, then here are my calls.

First, I'd put Brian Giles on the trade block and see if you get any bites. If you do, the team interested needs to take on all if not most of his $9 million salary remaining on his contract.

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If you can't trade him and he's not helping this team, either release him outright and eat the contract, or make him a reserve outfielder to guys like Will Venable and Drew Macias.

Second, it's time to trade Kevin Kouzmanoff. I'm sorry to those fans who like him but he is not helping this team batting .219. There has to be teams out there that are looking for a young third baseman with some power, though he may be better suited for a DH role in the American League.

Third, the Padres need to take a serious look at Chad Gaudin, Kevin Correia and Josh Geer.

These three guys have been the three most inconsitant starters all year long. They have great starts and it will look like they've finally figured things out, but then they'll give up five or six runs in their next start, making you scratch your head about their previous start.

Actually, the Padres will be forced to do something with one, two or all three guys when Walter Silva, Mike Adams, Shawn Hill and Cha Seung Baek return to the pitching core sometime in late June.

Lastly, and this is a long term change for the San Diego Padres, they need to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein and Tony Gwynn Jr because these three guys can be the core of the 2010 squad.

Adrian is, arguably, the best pure hitter in baseball right now, Eckstein provides leadership and that spark every team needs and Gwynn has been a pleasant surprise since the Padres acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Oh, and one more thing, and I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but it's time to trade Jake Peavy. I know Jake is a competitor, but when he knows full well that he's sick and isn't going to be able to perform at even 90 percent, he's got no business taking the ball because he cost his team doing that.

I don't care that he wants the ball every fifth day, in this instance, he made a horrible decision. Not only did he give up four runs and last just one inning, but he made his bullpen pitch the remaining eight innings and they're strained enough as it is.

The Padres should waive the white flag on the 2009 season, not to say that I won't still support them for the remaining games on their schedule, because I will, but they need to start focusing on the years ahead of them and the changes that will make this team successful.

If they don't, these losing streaks are going to continue for a long time to come.

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