Top 5 Issues the San Diego Padres Need to Address to Turn Things Around

Kristian Ibarra@@kristian_ibarraFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2014

Top 5 Issues the San Diego Padres Need to Address to Turn Things Around

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Since getting swept by Joe Torre and the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series, the San Diego Padres have only played playoff ball twice.

    Even on those two occasions that they managed to take an underpaid club and over-perform enough to swing the bats in October, they’ve only been victorious once.

    Not since Khalil Greene was making acrobatic plays at shortstop before making the throw to Adrian Gonzalez at first base has this team hung an NL West banner. Eight years later, Greene is five years into his retirement, while Gonzalez finds himself playing baseball up the I-5 with Magic Johnson. Meanwhile, the Friars are still trying to figure this whole baseball thing out and turn things around.

    It may take some collective prayers.

    It may take a complete overhaul of the League’s hatred for parity by implementing a salary cap 

    Either way, read on to find out what this club can do to improve.

Honorable Mentions

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    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    1. Trade Andrew Cashner for prospects

    2. Call up Austin Hedges

    3. Change ownership, again

5. Find a Healthy Bat

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Easier said than done. 

    They thought they had one in Carlos Quentin when they signed him to a multi-year deal back in 2012. They were wrong.

    The injury-prone Quentin hasn’t played a full season with San Diego. He hasn’t even played more than 90 games, ultimately missing almost half of each of the previous two seasons he’s played with the Padres

    Bad knees, sore shoulders and strained groins are just half of the reason he’s become a headache for Padres fans—his relatively impressive output at the plate serves as the other half. 

    In just 86 games with the Padres in 2012, Quentin hit 16 home runs and drove in 46 runs. That’s just as many home runs as Chris Denorfia and Cameron Maybin had combined—and they played in a combined 277 games. 

    He’s a productive player when he’s in the game; he just struggles to make his way out there. 

    The 2014 Padres are putting their eggs, and dollars, into a different basket—Jedd Gyorko. The 25-year-old West Virginian played in 125 games for the Padres in 2013, smacking a team-leading 23 home runs in the process. 

    Batting .173 with five home runs through 52 games in 2014, Gyorko has Padres fans wondering if he’ll be worth the $35 million investment in the long run.

4. Trade Chase Headley

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    USA TODAY Sports

    After his MVP-caliber season in 2012, Padres fans were clamoring for the front office to sign this guy to a long-term extension. Understanding he was worth much more than the Padres were willing to offer, he didn’t want to sign just yet. 

    Headley first told Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin in 2013:

    I’m not actively trying to get to free agency, but trying to get what you are worth is important. It would be foolish not to at least pay attention. I’m not going to sell myself short.

    Now, two years removed from the 173-hit, 115-RBI and 31-home run season, Padres fans are seeing him regress back to the norm. At best, Headley’s a 15-home run kind of guy who’ll give you solid defense and a .270 average at the plate­—overly productive for any Padres player year in and year out.

    The fact that the Padres have yet to sign the real Headley to a multi-year deal shows that he’s more valuable elsewhere.

    Stop making us suffer, San Diego, deal this guy and let us get used to some new faces around here.

3. Be Bad Enough at the Right Time

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Since 2000, the Padres have had a top-10 pick six times. Of those six players, only Tim Stauffer has made any sort of relatively positive impact with the ball club. Fellow pitcher Max Fried, drafted first overall in 2012, continues to make waves in the farm system.

    Even having the third-overall pick is too far out for the Padres. Missing out on San Diego State’s once-in-a-generation starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg to the Washington Nationals in 2009, the Padres drafted Donavan Tate, a high school outfielder.

    A pubic bone injury, broken jaw, injured shoulder, intestinal issues, hurt wrist, bum knee, torn Achilles and drug abuse have kept the once-promising outfielder from seeing consistent play with any of the Padres’ affiliate teams.

    Say what you want about baseball drafts and how often first overall picks don’t pan out, but when Bryce Harper, Strasburg, David Price, Justin Upton, Delmon Young, Joe Mauer and Adrian Gonzalez make up for seven of the 10 first-overall picks between 2000 and 2010, being the absolute worst is suddenly a commodity.

2. Fire Bud Black

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Even typing this hurts.

    Unlike most cities with underperforming sports teams, San Diego doesn’t hate the guy in charge. The guy’s so loveable people literally forget his name isn’t really “Bud” (it’s Harry).

    If there’s one thing this team has inadvertently reiterated after all these years of expected disappointment, it’s that Black is here to stay. The 2010 NL Manager of the Year has yet to take this team anywhere near the promised land, only leading this team toward two winning seasons and zero playoff appearances.

    Let that sink in for a second.

    You could argue that it isn’t his fault—his hands are essentially tied. Bound by above average pitching and awful batting, there are very few things any manager can do to improve his team.

    But, whether you’re a part of the front office, the team or the fan base, you get to the point where the only way you make any sort of change is by creating waves. The Padres can’t get rid of any single player and make such an impact—but they do have a manager.

1. Bring Back the Brown

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    This one’s probably the least plausible but certainly the most popular of all the things this team could do.

    But, be honest with yourself and admit that there is absolutely nothing about the current uniforms that excite you—they’re bland 

    The front-office isn’t deaf to the constant cries for the brown, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to change.

    The Associated Press’ Bernie Wilson first tweeted recently:

    BUMMER ALERT: #Padres boss Ron "The Sultan of Suds" Fowler says it's "Not likely" the Friars will return to mustard-and-mud color scheme.

    — Bernie Wilson (@berniewilson) May 25, 2014

    Fowler later cited “considerable research” to qualify the retro-uniform fans as a “vocal minority.” At least the minority’s vocal, it’d probably be hard to find anybody who’s vocally in support of the current uniforms. 

    Chargers fans will keep uproar alive until the organization reverts back to the powder blues that everyone loves so much—Padres fans should be doing the same for that brown.

    Really, guys, most of San Diego would probably settle for the blue and orange pinstripe uniforms from the 1990s. If you’re not going to give your fans a decent team on the field, at least give them something fashionable to wear off it. 


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